Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

A Vancouver-based environmental group says more than 200 prominent people, including scientists, indigenous leaders, politicians, actors and artists, have signed a letter urging British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan to stop old-fashioned logging.

Canopy says those who sign the open letter and send messages to Horgan range from Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip to former NASA scientist James Hansen and actors William Shatner and Dame Judi Dench.

Shatner’s message says that standing next to a giant cedar tree makes it clear how “small our place in the universe really is”, and the Prime Minister should let the forests “live long and flourish”.

A Canopy statement says only fragments of ancient forests remain in BC, and deforestation continues, despite recent announcements announced by the province, which cover “relatively small areas.”

A piece of old growth known as a cookie blocks an entrance in the west wing, where the premier office is located October 4, 2021. (Chad Hipolito / The Canadian Press)

Squamish Nation reported in June that it had identified at least 20 cut-off blocks within 150 kilometers of Vancouver where old-fashioned deforestation is planned, and it reiterated three Vancouver Island First Nations saying they will postpone any harvest with old growth while they develop long-term sustainability plans in their field.

Forest Minister Katrine Conroy told the legislature at question time this week that BC has postponed harvesting of old growth in 11 areas this year on a total of almost 200,000 hectares and introduced large tree regulation that protects over 1,500 puffins.

The BC government commissioned an independent panel in 2019 to make recommendations on its approach to transforming old-growth forestry, and Conroy said it is implementing all 14 recommendations.

“We have protected forest habitats from caribou, spotted owl, vulnerable species like the marbled murmur and northern goshawk,” she said.

Primatologist Jane Goodall is another of the signatories to the letter, and her message calling for an end to deforestation says it is “increasingly urgent” that voices be raised to protect forests.

“Every old tree felled, every species that becomes extinct represents a different threat to the future of our planet,” Goodall said in the statement.

Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s CEO, says the many calls to protect BC’s oldest trees “underscore the breadth of conservation support and how important it is to the planet’s health.”

This latest letter is based on a similar canopy sent in June, which contains signatures from 100 old logging opponents.

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