before we mourn the trees, we speak for them

A writer friend, Jayme Moye, went out to Fairy Creek’s River Camp on June 26 to cover the effort to save the old growth from Teal Jones’ machines, for Outside magazine. Last night, she shared that River Camp is gone. Destroyed by police. The 1000 year old known as Grandfather Tree is now in the direct sights of the corporation’s huge machines and saws. Is it still standing, as I write these words?

Thinking of it coming down, being severed from itself, it’s trunk, the Earth, makes me feel all hollowed out.

Makes me think of this line, from a Jane Hirschfield poem:

Today, for some, a universe will vanish.
First noisily,
then just another silence.

The silence of after, once the theater has emptied. 

Of bewilderment after the glacier,
the species, the star.

But before the silence, I feel this huge yawping NOOOOOOOOOOOOO rise up inside me.

This makes no sense. This doesn’t have to be. This is the wildest kind of hubris. This is like running towards your own extinction event instead of hitting the stop button.

Friends, who I lift up and feel so proud of, have made the pilgrimage out to Fairy Creek, answering the call to “come to camp” and to stand with the defenders.

One, Katrina Nightingale, shared this:

I went to the Fairy Creek Blockade on Vancouver Island last week to try and better understand the situation as the news reporting generally confused me! There is SO much I would like to share with you. But in a nutshell, I was humbled by the courageous, principled people I met (so many of them in their 20’s) who are literally laying down their lives to protect what remains of our old growth forests.  

The biodiversity in these ancient forests is rich beyond words and that in itself should be enough to consider them sacred. But more practically, as British Columbia  burned this summer, these forests worked to store the  immense amounts of carbon released by the wildfires. Our Premier, John Horgan, is willing to cut down the last remaining forests that will not burn even though when he was elected he irrefutably said he would put a moratorium on ALL OLD GROWTH LOGGING  in the province.  

I have several take-aways from my time at the blockade but the biggest is that this is not an anti-establishment issue or an Indigenous land rights issue or a political issue. This is about  society collectively caring for and preserving a unique ecosystem which is inextricably tied to our physical, emotional and spiritual health in a time when climate change is real. We MUST do this for our children and the generations to come.

I am going back next week but time has almost run out.  The RCMP has removed most of the remaining protestors and logging will resume if the injunction that has been put in place to allow a police presence is not renewed by SEPT. 26th.

Kat has been ruminating on the dissonance that exists here, where many of us are part of the fittest, fastest demographic of 40 plus people ever, spending significant sums of money to recreate, in every season, and revelling in our time out of doors, while relying on the youth to protect what is sacred.  (Her photos are below.)

There is a petition to sign here: https://chng.it/GmMZN8X57j

Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones has many stories about the area from his own experiences as a child and young man, and also stories told to him by his elders. He writes: “It breaks my heart in half when I see these last remaining stands being ravaged so a few people can have jobs for a few more months.”

These forests bring us the clean air that we need to breathe and the clean water that we need to drink and all the plants and animals that we need to sustain not only our bodies but also our spirits.

I’ll say this again. Go for a walk in the woods.

Elder Bill Jones
Other ways to get involved: https://laststandforforests.com/get-involved/

Drop us a note if you’re keen to get involved or meet with like-minded people concerned about what’s happening and wanting to take action in some fashion. We’ll try to facilitate a meet-up.

2 thoughts on “before we mourn the trees, we speak for them

  1. finafunk says:

    I’m in Lisa, been wanting to go to Fairy Creek to show support since I first heard about it, same as Standing Rock, Burnaby Trans Mtn, LNG etc etc, but middle-age excuses kept coming up, mostly about young children and a good paying job. I’ve tied myself up to trees when I was in my 20s, I have laid across roads and have protested in my 30s, and I guess you are right, why should I stop doing more than voting and signing petitions now that I’m in my 40s?!? Time to get on the ground again – what should we do first?!?

    Thank you kindly,
    Sarah

    • Lisa Richardson says:

      Oh, I love the immediacy of your response Sarah! And I have had this thought to: “I can’t go, I have a kid.” But hang on… how do I best serve his future? By ensuring the moratorium on old growth logging stands. I feel as though the best next steps might be to connect people from this community who have gone, or feel impassioned… and maybe out of that circle, some focus could arise.

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