Take Action on Old Growth Now

So far, 2021 has offered up one of the most intense years of the growing climate crisis in BC: A summer of non-stop wildfires that left the entire community of Lytton in ashes and many more being evacuated. Now, we’re experiencing devastating floods and landslides across BC that have killed at least one person, stranded thousands in cars and rural communities with no way in or out in dangerous conditions.  Floods have destined tens of thousands of farm animals in the Fraser Valley to their deaths. There will be continuing and long-term impacts such as food insecurity, dislocation and years of recovery - and those on the front lines of these consecutive disasters are those who are often facing existing barriers to recover from these challenges. 

As many in BC grapple with our new climate reality, First Nations leaders, communities and other experts are continuing to underscore the connection between BC’s logging practices and extractive industries with both worsening the severity and damage of both wildfires and floods. In a November 16th press release by the First Nations Leadership Council, Grand Chief Stewart Philip,  President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated: 

"As extreme weather events ravage across BC, First Nations continue to bear the brunt of climate change impacts and have been forced to flee their homes again. The unprecedented and continuing weather events prove that this is no longer a climate crisis; we are in an ongoing climate emergency, and lives and communities are at imminent risk. This is no time for the province to forge ahead with antiquated fossil fuel projects and logging of old growth forests that will only continue to worsen the absolute environmental catastrophe we are experiencing. The response to climate change must be cross-ministerial and cannot be silo-ed into one ministry- the province must start to actively connect the climate crisis dots.”

The recent BC NDP announcement of new deferrals for old growth logging includes some encouraging pieces, but overall it is being acknowledged that this current action falls far short of what the crisis requires. The time is now to engage with Ministers and MLAs on this important issue.

Artwork by Jana Rayne MacDonald, a member of For Our Kids Vancouver, image inspired by the photography and activism of TJ Watt


We encourage you to take a few minutes to email (or call) Ministers or MLAs to demand the BC government make big changes, and make them now.  Below you will find many different letter writing tools by several organizations, you can use their templates or even better use them as inspiration to write your own email.  We’ve also put together a backgrounder on current BC logging issues, along with recent news and resources.

Contact your MLA to ask questions and share your perspectives.  Find your MLA here by using your postal code or community or constituency name.

Letters- Scripts- Actions 

Ancient Forest Alliance Letter
Tell the BC Government to Commit Funding for Old-Growth Forest Protection

Stand Earth Letter
Tell your MLA to protect old growth immediately

The Wilderness Committee Letter
BC Must Match Old Growth Intention with Action

Sierra Club Letter
Call on the BC government to reform forestry practices

Sierra Club
30 Ways You Can Stand Up For Old Growth Forests Today


Backgrounder - November 2021 BC Government Announces Old-Growth Logging Deferrals

BC Government News Release
November 2, 2021
Government taking action on old-growth deferrals
The Province has announced its intention to work in partnership with First Nations to defer harvest of ancient, rare and priority large stands of old growth within 2.6 million hectares of B.C.’s most at-risk old-growth forests.
Government statement can be read in full here.

Canada Press
November 5, 2021
Indigenous leaders concerned over B.C.'s process for old-growth logging deferrals
The First Nations Leadership Council, which includes the executives of the chiefs union, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Summit, issued a statement Thursday, saying it was "extremely concerned that old growth remains unprotected today, and that the province has passed responsibility to First Nations without providing financial support for nations to replace any revenues that might be lost if they choose to defer logging old growth in their territory.
Read the full article here

Wilderness Committee
November 2021
Understanding the new BC Old-Growth Announcement - Webinar with Dr. Torrnace Coste
This webinar by Torrance Coste, Campaign Director with the Wilderness Committee, explains the most recent government announcements, and also gives the background and context leading up to the deferral announcements. Access the recording on Youtube

Related News & Analysis

In 2020, For Our Kids North Shore created a really useful resource on old growth, including research reports on old-growth in BC, policy analyses, and links to information on Fairy Creek and more. It’s a great place to get started with your learning on old-growth issues and the provincial policy response in 2020. Access the primer here (Please note a number of the actions outlined in this resource are now outdated, including a federal petition). 

The Energy Mix
November 23rd, 2021
BC Flood Devastation Linked to Logging Practices 'Without Question' Experts Warn
As the long work of rebuilding southern British Columbia begins, forestry professionals and activists are urging the Horgan government to connect the dots between the climate crisis, clearcut logging, and catastrophes like the landslide that killed five people on Highway 99 near Lillooet.
Full article can be read here.

The Narwhal
November 17, 2021
Connecting the dots between B.C.’s floods, landslides and the clearcut logging of old forests
Deforestation dramatically alters how landscapes are able to cope with extreme weather events like the atmospheric river that surged across southern British Columbia earlier this week
Full article can be read here.

First Nations Leadership Council
November 16, 2021 
Press Release: FNLC Calls for a State of Emergency due to Unprecedented Climate Weather Events in BC
Full article can be read here.

The Tyee
November 12, 2021
Analysis: Protecting Some Old Growth Isn’t Enough. BC Needs a Forest Revolution.
Governments have mismanaged the sector for decades. Now communities and First Nations should lead.  Four things the provincial government can do.
By Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Arnold Bercov, Torrance Coste and Ben Parfitt
Read the full article here.

The Tyee
November 9, 2021
BC Paused a Lot of Old-Growth Logging. Now What?
Forest ‘deferrals’ explained. And what Indigenous, conservationist and union voices say they don’t yet fix.
Read the full article here

The Narwal
November 9th, 2021
How B.C.’s long-awaited forestry law updates leave gaps around protecting old-growth and Indigenous Rights
While environmental advocates are cautiously optimistic about proposed amendments to B.C.'s 2004 Forest Ranges and Practices Act, many worry they lack clarity and don't provide the protections the province's oldest forests need
Read full article here.

Kelowna Now
November 5, 2021
Indigenous leaders concerned over BC's process for old-growth logging deferrals
Read the full article here

The Tyee
November 3, 2021
BC Unveils Plans to Defer Logging of Old-Growth Forests
Green Leader Furstenau calls it ‘an essential and overdue first step.’ And more reaction on the announcement…
Read the full article here

The Narwhal
November 2, 2021
‘Extremely frustrating’: B.C. announces 2.6 million hectares of at-risk old-growth, no permanent protections
The announcement, which comes one full year after B.C.’s expert panel recommended the province introduce immediate deferrals in old forests facing irreversible biodiversity loss, is short on specifics and funding for affected First Nations, critics say…
Read the full article here

Additional Resources

Sierra Club BC
May 2021
New Map of At-Risk Old-Growth Forests in BC is a First Step Towards Solutions
At-risk old-growth still unprotected, as RCMP clears path for logging companies on Vancouver Island
Access article and map here.

The Discourse
November 5, 2021
In maps: Where are the proposed old-growth deferrals for Vancouver Island?
Here's where a panel of experts say old growth forests need urgent protection.
Access the article and map here

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust & Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition - Report Authored by Dr. Jim Pojar
February 2019
Forestry and Carbon in BC
Find the report here

Veridian Ecological Consulting - Report authored by Karen Price, Ph.D., Rachel F. Holt, Ph.D., R.P.Bio and Dave Daust R.P.F., M.Sc.
April 2020
BC’s Old Growth Forest, A Last Stand For Biodiversity 
Find the report here

Sierra Club - Report authored by Dr. Peter Wood
February 2021
Intact Forests, Safe Communities: Reducing community climate risks through forest protection and a paradigm shift in forest management 
Find the report here.