Celebrities, scientists join Indigenous leaders in global call for urgent protection of old growth forests

Thursday June 17, 2021

In a new video ad campaign, a growing chorus of influencers and thought leaders are urging B.C. Premier John Horgan to honour campaign promises and protect the last remaining giant trees

səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Territories (Vancouver, BC) —  From Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and David Suzuki, to Margaret Atwood and Mark Ruffalo, these are just some of the latest influential voices to send a statement to John Horgan’s NDP government about protecting the last remaining old growth forests in British Columbia. 

In a video ad campaign released today by Stand.earth, Indigenous leaders, celebrities, scientists, and environmental activists are joining the growing call to hold the B.C. government accountable to their campaign promises and stop logging the last remaining giant trees.

Video available here (downloadable hi-res) for media use and distribution.
Shareable social media links available here for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The video includes:

  • Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)

  • Victor Peter, Hereditary Chief, Pacheedaht First Nation

  • Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Director, Sacred Earth Solar
  • Khelsilem, Community Leader

  • David Suzuki, Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist

  • Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director, Stand.Earth

  • Paul Stamets, American author and mycologist

  • Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia's Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences

  • Mark Ruffalo, American actor and producer

  • Margaret Atwood, Canadian author

  • Nathalie Kelley, Indigenous Peruvian–Australian actor

  • Nathalie Boltt, South African actor

  • Serinda Swan, Canadian actor

  • Brendan Taylor, Canadian actor

  • Adrian Hough, Canadian actor

The video is being released across social media, and will be placed as a video advertisement on CBC National, Global News and CHEK.

Pressure is ramping up on the B.C. NDP to protect these last remaining giants. Last week, constituents across B.C. hosted over 20 creative protests outside MLA offices urging them to honour their campaign promises, while the Squamish Nation called for an immediate moratorium on all old growth logging in their territory. Meanwhile, forest defenders continue to hold camp in Fairy Creek, where the RCMP continue to enforce an injunction and have arrested 222 people so far.  Although the Horgan government announced that it would honour deferral requests from Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, it only addresses a fraction of at-risk old growth forests in B.C. and leaves calls by other First Nations for immediate logging deferrals unanswered. 

“It's time for the BC NDP to make good on its promise and stop dragging its feet on old growth”, said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director, Stand.Earth. “With unprecedented media coverage, photographs of the massive trees going viral, and people around the world watching and speaking out, now is the time to act.”

“Even though they promised to implement the recommendations from the expert panel, and scientists have clearly laid out what areas of at-risk old growth need to be deferred, the government has yet to stop the chainsaws.” she continued

So far, the government has only agreed to defer logging in part of the Fairy Creek watershed and the central Walbran area, consisting of 2 000 hectares of old growth forests. This leaves most of the remaining old growth in the area still at risk. More recently, independent scientists mapped the panel’s criteria for logging deferrals, including productive, ancient and rare forest types, identifying at least 1.3 million hectares for logging deferrals as a first step. The urgent need for province-wide logging bans is why constituents continue to protest outside MLA offices in order to ramp up pressure and protect all at-risk old growth forests across B.C.

On April 30, 2020 an independent old growth review panel submitted its report and recommendations to the provincial government, which included specific timelines for immediate steps like full Indigenous involvement and reducing threats to at-risk forests. 
The panel called for immediate logging deferrals in remaining productive old growth forests, but despite giving the province a six-month timeline to put deferrals in place, about 75 per cent of remaining productive old growth forests in BC remain open to logging. These old growth forests are now found on less than one percent of the forested landbase in BC.

Stand.earth and its supporters are calling on the B.C. government to fulfill its promise and immediately stop logging in at-risk old growth forests.

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Media contact: 

Ziona Eyob, Canadian Communications Manager, Stand.earth
c: +1 604 757 7279
ziona@stand.earth