General News · 22nd August 2012
Jill Milton/Barry Miles
With logging slated to begin this September, it’s time to think about the future of our forests. Starting with a few parcels of land this year, Island Timberlands plans to clear-cut all of their substantial holdings over the next years.
IT does own the land, and as a corporation, they manage it to maximize economic profit. Taking timber out of the forest is not the problem; its the process of industrial logging that ignores any values but the bottom line. The profits and benefits from cutting Cortes forests will go off-island, but the costs will be felt here, in the form of a destroyed and degraded ecosystem, loss of local employment due to a negative impact on the tourist industry, potential deterioration of the shellfish industry in Gorge Harbour where the logs are boomed, destruction of our roads from logging truck traffic, and community discord.
As eco-mapping projects have documented, Cortes is home to rare and endangered species and plant communities. Humans have profoundly impacted the global environment, and it is becoming clear that we have a responsibility to protect other species and the complex ecosystem that sustains life on the planet. Clearly, IT has the legal right to log, but we have the moral right to insist that they integrate ecosystem protection and community values into their decision making.
When I first saw IT’s ribbons cutting through the forest, my heart sank. Luckily others saw this as a challenge. My deepest gratitude and admiration go to all those who have put so much time, thought and energy into engaging with IT. I’m especially impressed with the way young people who grew up here have stepped forward to start this process and move it ahead. If there is one thing this community has gotten right, it's our kids! I look forward to joining in this weekend’s celebration of forests and community action.