A rally was held in Nanaimo to demand an end to logging of remaining old-growth forests on the Island.
The Worth More Standing forest march drew about 50 people to Maffeo Sutton Park in downtown Nanaimo on Friday, March 19. The march was part of provincewide action to show solidarity among communities demanding a reformation of B.C.’s forestry legislation and to spread awareness about the link between the industry and climate impacts, according to a press release.
Nanaimo’s rally and march, which included speeches and music followed by short march to stage a demonstration on the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue, was promoted by Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo and Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition.
“If we don’t have forests, we don’t have watersheds and if we don’t have watersheds, we don’t have drinking water. We don’t have streams that flow down from up in the forests where the salmon spawn. With no salmon, no orcas,” said the water coalition’s June Ross.
Leah Morgan, representing Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo and the group Save Cable Bay Trail Area, said all living things are interconnected in the environment and removal of the last old-growth forest stands will fundamentally change the ecosystem and eliminate biodiversity on the Island.
“We know that we live in complex web of life on the Earth and every intricate thing, from the smallest thing that we cannot see, even with a microscope, to the biggest things on the planet are all connected,” Morgan said.
She said protesters manning logging road blockades leading to old-growth forest at the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew also need support to “hold the line so we can preserve that forest.” Protesters have maintained logging road blockades in the area since the summer of 2020.
Morgan said the B.C. government has ignored recommendations presented by a review panel in April.
“The B.C. NDP actually received the 14 recommendations from the forest review panel in May,” she said. “They sat on that until September. They called an early election and they claimed they would implement those 14 recommendations immediately. They have done nothing … if they sit on it another six months, all the old growth will be gone.”