Story at a glance:
- There is a fight over old-growth trees in Canada.
- Activists are guarding a swath of Vancouver Island from logging to pressure the government..
- Tensions are rising between activists and logging workers.
In the southern Vancouver Island, the “war in the woods” is happening — reminiscent of the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history when nearly 1,000 people were arrested during a logging blockade in 1993. This time, activists are trying to protect giant old-growth trees.
It is the battle between blockaders and loggers as both opposing sides verbally fight over whether trees in the Fairy Creek should be cut down or preserved.
A logger, also know as a lumberjack, is someone who harvests and transports trees for ultimate processing into forest products.
In a digital and modern era, the profession of a logger is a relic of the past, especially amongst eco-conscious activists who believe it is hurting the planet.
Teal Jones, a logging company, said it has been slandered by activists, saying the company is providing jobs.
“Most of Fairy Creek is a protected forest reserve or unstable terrain and not available for harvesting,” Vice President Gerrie Kotze said.
Kotze told the Guardian that the company wanted to cut a small area at the head of the watershed.
The Canadian government is caught in the crossfire, wanting to protect logging, a rich tradition tied with Canadian folklore and history, and support environment conservation.
“We want to make sure people can appreciate old-growth trees for years to come, while supporting a sustainable forest sector for workers and communities,” said the forestry minister, Katrine Conroy.
However, Rachel Holt and other independent ecologists say that the government is overstating the number of remaining old growth trees.
“But the vast majority of that – about 80% – consists of small or very small trees,” Holt said.
Regardless of how many are there, the blockade has members like 17-year-old Joshua Wright of Washington State who believes that, “If we don’t stop logging now, in three to five years there’s not going to be any old growth left.”
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