Old Growth Revylution is calling for peaceful, loving, civil disobedience.
The group, which has hosted two protests against the logging of old-growth forests, announced today, July 7, that they have started a blockade on the Big Mouth Forest Service Road, around 120 km north of Revelstoke on Highway 23.
Virginia Thompson, a member of the group, spoke at Revelstoke City Hall. She has been fighting to protect the old-growth forest in the area for the last 15 years. Until now she has followed the rules, describing herself as a “Miss Goody Two-shoes”.
“But committees, petitions, meetings, thousands of hours, and I have reached the point, with this situation, the last of the last old-growth and this insincerity…on the part of the government, where I say, if governments fail us, what is left to us?” she said. “Direct action, civil disobedience, nonviolent, peaceful, loving, civil disobedience. Love for people. Love for the planet.”
|Laurence Chanut is one of the organizers of Old Growth Revylution. (Jocelyn Doll-Revelstoke Review)|
Revylution’s blockade intends to remain until their four demands are met on a provincial scale:
1. Immediately defer logging across the 1.3 million hectares of old-growth forest that meet the criteria laid out by the old-growth strategic review, not in a few months, but now.
2. Instruct the Ministry of Forests to stop issuing new logging or road building approvals in any old-growth forests
3. Work to create a rapid and just transition away from all old-growth logging considering economic alternatives for indigenous nations and rural communities that have become economically dependent on old-growth logging
4. Help bring about a sustainable forestry system based on the local control of the land and managing ecosystem services.
“We are not seeking deferrals, we are seeking protection of what is left,” said Laurence Chanut, a member of the movement. “We will not stand down until these demands are met.”
The group held a protest on Canada Day that saw more than 150 people marching down First Street to the courthouse.
“Fairy Creek is important, Vancouver Island is important, but it is happening on our doorstep, 30 kilometres up the road, and we have to speak up,” said Jade Harvey, executive director for Wildsight Revelstoke, at the time.
Earlier this spring, BC Timber Sales auctioned off 120 hectares of old-growth forest in Bigmouth Creek, approximately 120 km north of Revelstoke, and timber harvesting has started in the area.
In the neighbouring area of Argonaut Creek, the province has deferred logging 11 of 14 cutblocks until new caribou management plans are released, which is not expected until 2023.
The Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation has a tree farm licence for an area south of Argonaut and Bigmouth that is also home to old-growth forests. They recently had their annual allowable cut of 90,000 cubic metres renewed.
The forest in the Revelstoke area is thought to be the only interior rainforest in the world.
“Ancient forests are the lungs of the planet and in this area, those lungs are the last inland temperate rainforest in the world,” said Chanut.
Though their mandate is to protect old-growth forests, Chanut reminded the crowd that they are not against sustainable logging.
“Make sure you know who the target is here, it is not the loggers, nor the companies, it is the system in which the forestry industry continues,” she said. “It is our deepest wish that this issue does not polarize our community.”