I'm a member of the Industrial Wood & Allied Workers of Canada -- a boom-man for 25 years - who supports Greenpeace's B.C. forest blockade and boycott campaign, and I'd like to tell you why. If there had been an effective Greenpeace in the '50s, my job would probably be secure today. We wouldn't have gone down the wrong path for half a century, practicing an unsustainable forestry that degrades B.C. forests and eliminates many future jobs for each current job like mine.

And my union, and the New Democratic Party I worked for all those years to help get in government, wouldn't be disgracing themselves with a cynical lie about B.C.'s sustained-yield forestry having world-leading environmental standards.

That's horse manure. History will record that the real enemies of B.C. are not environmental groups like Greenpeace, who want to protect B.C. forests, but those who continue to obfuscate and avoid the changes needed to develop a truly sustainable forestry.

Forestry in B.C. is three-quarters of the way through an attempt to redesign forests which was begun after the Second World War. The Sloan Commission mandated a maximum sustained-yield approach to forestry, wherein all reachable forests on Crown land would be systematically eliminated and replaced by tree crops.

We'll eliminate all those "over-mature and decadent" old-growth forests and convert them to crops of rapid-growing second growth, which we would harvest using the same schedule. We're already three-quarters of the way through the elimination of working forests old growth.

Forests are more than just trees for timber; they supply atmosphere and water regulation and habitat for biodiversity - essential, but not economically valued, services. Tree farms are not forests. Forests are complex systems which evolve over millennia, and when you take forests of 200-plus years and replace them with "crop rotations" of less than 100 years, you eliminate the structure and diversity necessary for forest health and function.

Because B.C. has developed a bloated forest industry capacity based on a now-discredited belief that we could harvest all old growth and then harvest all the second growth in perpetuity, industry and government refuse to consider changing to an ecologically sustainable forestry. The forest policies are cleverly disguised business as usual.

So I'm supporting Greenpeace in its battle to force the government and industry to change to a forestry that protects the health and integrity of forests. Healthy forests will always sustain logging, booming and milling jobs.

Greenpeace wants to stop the war in the woods - our 50-year systematic war of aggression against old-growth forests. Anybody who wants a healthy forest industry in healthy forests should be fighting on its side against the real enemies of B.C.


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