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Kathy Code

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  1. OPEN LETTER TO PREMIER JOHN HORGAN, SOLICITOR GENERAL MIKE FARNWORTH, ATTORNEY GENERAL DAVID EBY, ENVIRONMENT MINISTER GEORGE HEYMAN, INDIGENOUS RELATIONS MINISTER MURRAY RANKIN, TOM AND DICK JONES OF TEAL JONES GROUP AND DEPUTY COMMISSIONER DWAYNE MCDONALD OF THE RCMP So this is how you want Fairy Creek to go down? With RCMP smashing car windows, conducting illegal searches, stealing personal possessions and giving them to Teal Jones, threatening and inflicting harm on peaceful protesters, defying court orders that declare the illegality of exclusion zones, attempting to fetter the press, targeting Indigenous and people of colour with long-standing deep-seated and systemic racism? This is the best you can do in dealing with peaceful protesters in a civil society, and who have every right to practice civil disobedience? This is how you want to be forever remembered? Make no mistake, your names will be etched into the annals of history as those representatives of state, corporations and law enforcement who cared more for protecting the financial interests of big business than the interests of the people. Was this a good use of the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the RCMP tactical squad? It’s a safe bet the expense far exceeds any stumpage fees coming to government from TFL#46. What we have just witnessed is the true nature of the forces aligned against the people—the Indigenous peoples who hold rights and title to natural resources, the BC citizens who work hard every day to make ends meet, the coming generations who may never know the beauty and grace of an intact forest. Yet, what we have endured at your hands over the past year is but a fraction of what Indigenous people have suffered over hundreds of years of oppression. We, as settlers, have come to realize the true history of how our society was built and we are here to stand with our Indigenous brothers and sisters to see that the balance of power changes now and forever. The fact that you continue to forge this unholy alliance in the face of the existential climate crisis in which we are now living, the scientists who call for the preservation of old growth forests and all the biodiversity they contain, the recent IPCC report, the inherent rights of Indigenous people to their unceded territories speaks volumes of the depth of your lack of understanding of your duty to Indigenous peoples, citizens and the generations to come. Peaceful, honourable and immovable—that has been our creed all along. It is certainly not yours. While we may have lost some ground, we remain steadfast. The time has come to elevate our campaign to an international audience, where the voices of the world can rise in protest at the destruction of our old growth forests. We will continue our work in peace. Kathleen Code I acknowledge that I am residing on the territory of the Coast Salish peoples and I thank them for allowing me to live and learn together on their territory.
  2. Posted January 18, 2021 The Ecoforestry Institute Society urges Premier Horgan and forests minister Katrine Conroy to put a moratorium on any further old-growth logging. Go to story
  3. Open Letter: Ecoforestry Institute urges moratorium on old-growth logging Dear Premier Horgan and Minister Conroy: We write to you today out of grave concern for our last and vanishing old-growth forests in British Columbia. In view of the social, cultural and ecological values of these vastly diminished, yet iconic ecosystems, we respectfully request that you place an immediate moratorium on all harvesting of our remaining old-growth forests as a means to save these precious areas of biodiversity and climate change resilience. Old-growth forests have high cultural significance for First Nations and we would ask that their views be considered with equal priority in the decision-making process. First, an introduction. We are the Ecoforestry Institute Society, the owners and trustees of Wildwood, the longest continuously managed ecoforest on the west coast of North America. Situated in Yellow Point on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Wildwood was previously owned by Merv Wilkinson, who received the Order of BC and the Order of Canada for his pioneering work in ecoforestry. EIS has managed the property since 2001 and gained ownership in 2016. We are proud to hold it in stewardship on behalf of the people of BC. Wildwood has been harvested since 1945 on a single tree selection basis and according to the practices and principles of ecoforestry. Harvests are conducted while ensuring all ecosystems and wildlife habitats remain intact and functioning. It is a model that has served us well, with Wildwood retaining its old growth legacies over time while providing income from its forest harvesting. It now models a diverse income stream from multiple revenue sources. We understand all too well how old-growth forests contribute not only to a multitude of cultural and economic returns over generations but also provide those essential life functions—wildlife habitat, oxygen production, carbon storage, water and nutrient recycling—that allow us and our fellow living beings to exist on this planet. We are sure you understand this dynamic as well and how intact forests are inherent to the character and spirit of our great province. We commend you for committing to adopting all the recommendations in the Gorley/Merkel Old-Growth Report, but your statement that your consultation process regarding their recommendations will take place over the next three years is very alarming. There is no doubt that consultations with First Nations and stakeholders are critical and must occur, yet if the clearcutting of our old-growth forests continues during this time, perhaps at even faster rates than ever as industrial forest companies sense oncoming changes, the areas remaining will be significantly diminished. Forestry workers, too, are understandably concerned about their employment futures. Indeed, the United Steel Workers Union and forest communities across BC must be assured of a transition to a new and sustainable future that is independent of the availability of old-growth forest. We believe that we have come now to a place where we can no longer risk what little remains of old-growth ecosystems. Government has long known the risk to cutting this non-renewable resource, and over time, both the Auditor General and the Forest Practices Board have spoken of the need for innovative approaches and practices on the part of government to preserve these forests. We understand that, historically, government has relied heavily on forestry as an economic revenue stream and job creator, yet the current need for increased taxpayer subsidies and the ongoing industry mechanization guarantees this industry is no longer the economic driver it once was. We argue that the benefits of old-growth forests to our province in terms of their biodiversity, carbon sequestration, tourism and cultural values far outweigh the short-term economic gains to be had by destroying them. We ask that government recognize the irreplaceable resource that it is and protect what little is left for future generations. So, the crux of the matter is that while your government works on the consultation process to come up with solutions, we must ensure our old-growth forests and the biodiversity that defines them are protected until this process is complete. We respectfully ask that the Government of British Columbia place an immediate moratorium on all industrial harvesting and development in old growth forests (as defined in the “Priority Actions” section of the Price, Holt, Daust report BC's Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity). EIS has reaped the benefits from a forest that has been managed to protect its Old Growth attributes over time and now provides educational resources to both students and professionals in the discipline of ecoforestry. As well as hosting international visitors, we have been privileged to host several of your staff and meet with your predecessor, Minister Donaldson, all of whom seemed impressed with our philosophy, forest management system and with our magnificent Old Growth trees. We would be happy to share with you our model for ecological forest management and our new initiative with Stz’uminus, Snuneymuxw and other First Nations to create the “Syeyutsus” or “Walking Together” program which combines western science with First Nations Indigenous Knowledge to create an holistic approach to forest management. We would be pleased to meet with you and ministry staff at your earliest convenience for further discussions. We can be reached at admin@ecoforestry.ca or in response to this email. Thank you for your consideration. Kindest regards, Peter Jungwirth, EIS Co-chair, RPF and Wildwood Ecoforester Barry Gates, EIS Co-chair, Wildwood Forest Manager and Ecoforester Kathy Code, EIS Vice-chair and Communications Director, Economic Development Strategist Sharon Chow, EIS Treasurer and Secretary, Education Committee Dr. Nancy Turner, EIS Education Co-chair, Professor Emeritus, Indigenous Liaison and Ethnobotanist Erik Piikkila, EIS Education Co-chair and Ecoforester Cheryl Bancroft, EIS Architectural Designer and Homestead Manager Stephanie Johnson, EIS Director and Indigenous Liaison Chris Walther, EIS Director, RPF and Ecoforester
  4. Posted November 13, 2020 Photo of clearcut logging by Island Timberlands near Port Alberni. We, meaning government, First Nations, communities, scientists, academics, non-government organizations, industry and citizens, must find a way to pool our collective efforts to responsibly steward the precious natural resources given to us. Go to story
  5. We, meaning government, First Nations, communities, scientists, academics, non-government organizations, industry and citizens, must find a way to pool our collective efforts to responsibly steward the precious natural resources given to us. Logging on McLaughlin Ridge near Port Alberni (Photo by TJ Watts) BLESSED UNREST—that’s the name Paul Hawken gave more than a decade ago to the grassroots movement that was sweeping the world working in the name of environmental protection and social justice. Generally comprised of a loose collection of individuals or groups without a particular leader, it’s a movement that’s alive and well in BC. Citizens and communities are standing up to protect the last vestiges of intact ecosystems, the rights and culture of Indigenous peoples, wildlife habitat, salmon runs, old growth forest, clean water systems, and the transition demanded by climate change. It began 30 years ago with Clayquot Sound, yet here we are still trying to protect those places and rights that represent our very essence. Site C, Trans Mountain, LNG pipelines, abandoned oil and gas wells, the Wet’suwet’en land rights, Six Mountains, Fairy Creek, the Nuchatlaht land defense, Caycuse, Argonaut Creek, the Walbran, Avatar Grove, the Great Bear Rainforest (yes, they are logging that!), it is an ongoing and exhausting list. Activists are mounting legal actions, writing letters, signing petitions, raising donations, publishing articles, hosting webinars, lobbying elected officials—all pleading for a more respectful and responsible worldview. For the most part, it’s a call that has fallen on deaf ears at government levels. Government can wait out the expensive lawsuits and the cries of public outrage, then drag its heels on meaningful and substantive reform while continuing to meet with industry lobbyists. Environmental and social protectors don’t have a voice, no matter the stripe of the government. Often it comes down to talk of buying the specific tract of land to save it, but honestly, it is not a problem we can buy our way out of. This is especially true with Crown Lands, where public forests have been handed over to tenured industrial forest companies. Their primary goals are to maximize corporate profits and introduce technology to reduce the need for salaries, benefits, pensions and other pesky incursions into the profit margin, not community benefit and public good. We have created a competitive arena, but there is no denying those enormous amounts of money, time and labour spent could be put to better use to improve who and what we are as a responsible and inclusive society. What it all comes down to is the public good. What is the government responsibility when it comes to stewarding our precious natural resources? Whose interest is best served? Why does profit take precedence over science? How can we develop frameworks that meet a variety of needs in a more balanced manner? The NDP has just won a majority government here in BC. During the campaign, they pledged themselves to the 14 recommendations contained in the Gorley and Merkel Old Growth Strategic Review Report. The report itself is generally well-received, but was accompanied by government’s deferral list of old growth sites that, upon closer scrutiny, proved less than substantive. Two possibilities come to mind to explain the lack of substantive response: either government thought BC forest experts would not catch on to the smoke and mirrors nature of the list, or there is a distinct lack of subject matter experts within government itself. Government has shown itself capable of relying on science as the overriding COVID-19 strategy—why not look to the science of forests, environment, social justice, climate change? Government must hold itself to the high standard of serving the public good. It’s time we all work together to treasure the precious resources we have for now and for generations to come. In the meantime, the Blessed Unrest will continue efforts to protect what matters to us as a caring society. Retired as an economic development policy analyst with the BC government, Kathy dedicates her education and experience to search for new ways to live within the parameters of nature. She serves as Vice Chair of the Ecoforestry Institute Society (Wildwood Ecoforest), Director with the Cowichan Family Life Association, Legal Strategist for the Fairy Creek peaceful protest, and CEO of Juniper Community Solutions.
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