Until Tues, July 21st, British Columbians can submit their input on the BC government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. This presents a critical opportunity to call for investments in environmental protection and the transition to a green economy, including sustainable, second-growth forestry, as the Province works to “build back better”.
BC’s COVID-19 recovery means not only learning and adapting from our experiences during the pandemic, it should also address the climate and biodiversity crises that threaten our health and economy to an even greater extent.
As long as environmental destruction, including the liquidation of BC’s endangered ancient forests continues, we are hindering our chances of creating a truly sustainable, just, and resilient province. Tell the NDP government it’s time to build a better BC by investing in solutions that support the health and well-being of communities and species alike.
There are 3 ways to submit your feedback on BC’s COVID-19 recovery plan:
1. Email your response to the BC government’s Recovery Discussion Paper to email@example.com. Read the discussion paper here
2. Complete the online survey
3. Participate in a virtual town hall
Here are some suggested points you can use:
• Old-growth forests provide clean air, absorb pollutants, filter freshwater for wildlife and communities, support our physical and mental health, and are vital to the cultures of many First Nations.
• BC’s ancient forests are one of our greatest assets in this time of climate crisis. They store 2-3 times more carbon per hectare than the second-growth plantations they’re replaced with, help mitigate the negative effects of climate change by acting as buffers against floods and fires, and they provide biological diversity, which supports adaptation and resilience.
• Studies have shown that keeping old-growth forests standing can provide a greater overall economic benefit than cutting them down when factoring in recreation, tourism, carbon storage, non-timber forest products, and other non-timber values.
• Recent independent research shows only a tiny fraction (less than 3%) of BC’s highly productive old-growth forests (those capable of growing big trees) remain standing today.
As part of its COVID-19 recovery plan, the BC government must:
• Prioritize the protection of life-supporting ecosystems, including old-growth forests, by halting logging in BC’s most endangered old-growth ecosystems and developing a comprehensive, science-based plan to protect remaining old-growth forests across BC.
• Fund the protection of endangered ecosystems on private lands by establishing a dedicated $40 million per year BC Natural Lands Acquisition Fund.
• Grow BC’s manufacturing sector by using regulations and incentives to encourage the retooling of mills and the development of value-added, second-growth wood manufacturing facilities to sustain and enhance forestry jobs.
• Provide training and apprenticeship opportunities to help build the skilled labour force to develop a higher-end, value-added wood manufacturing sector that can employ far more workers per volume of wood harvested.
• Support the sustainable economic development of First Nations economies in lieu of old-growth logging through conservation financing.
• Support and fund Indigenous-led land-use plans and protected areas to maintain the significant cultural values of ancient forests while supporting First Nations’ communities and wellbeing.