United We Stand for Old Growth Forests! Declaration, March and Super-Rally Saturday February 25, BC Legislature 

September 2022 marked the 2nd anniversary of the British Columbia government's release of the report of its Old-Growth Strategic Review (OGSR) panel, “A New Future for Old Forests”. The report recommended immediate action to stop logging of the most at-risk old growth forests in BC. It called for a major shift in BC forestry practices, namely to “Declare conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of British Columbia’s forests as an overarching priority and enact legislation that legally establishes this priority for all sectors.” It called for the full involvement of First Nations communities, the inherent rights and title holders of this land. It called for public reporting that is “vetted, trustworthy, accurate and shared,” and included a three-year framework.

 In light of overwhelming support for old growth forest protection, the Horgan government made clear 2020 election promises to implement all 14 recommendations of the OGSR report. However, two years later, the NDP’s response has been poor. Our main critiques are as follows:

  • Without on-the-ground measures, the talk-and-log status quo continues, and thousands of hectares of at-risk forests continue to be logged across the province. More than three million hectares of at-risk forest remain vulnerable to logging, and ancient giants are felled daily.
  • The government earned a record $1.8 billion in stumpage fees in 2021, but has not provided sufficient funding to First Nations to support immediate deferrals, long term solutions, and their transition to sustainable second growth forestry. 
  • Despite only one year remaining on the OGSR framework, the government has not established an implementation plan with clear measurable objectives, timelines, accountability, and steps for well-resourced enforcement and evaluation. Limited reports to the public continue to be ‘variable, biased, often inaccurate.’  
  • While we are in a Code Red global climate crisis, this is a dangerous failure. Healthy forests are essential to maintaining safe, sustainable communities, critical water ecosystems, biodiversity, salmon habitat and so much more. With more extreme weather, wildfires and flooding, the failure to protect vital forest ecosystems is already life threatening and has decimated some communities in B.C.
  • Since the release of the OGSR, well over 1100 people have been arrested, while peacefully defending old-growth forests in multiple parts of B.C., demonstrating the widespread frustration with the NDP government and its failure to keep its promises on this vital issue.

Urgently needed is a just transition for Indigenous nations and forest-dependent communities that protects these carbon-rich ancient forests and their critical role in ensuring a livable future for all. 

Today, and every day, we, the undersigned, stand together in an unprecedented show of unity amongst working people, Indigenous land stewards and knowledge-keepers, activists, scientists, youth, educators, communities, celebrities, environmental and social justice groups, faith organizations and more.  Standing united against the destruction of old growth forests.  Standing strong for future generations.

Our coalition is bringing a broad-based mass mobilization to the BC Legislature on February 25, 2023 that reflects the majority of public will in BC for progressive solutions to the crisis in the woods. Based on the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resolution 2022-32, and supported by independent reporting, the scientific data on old growth, and the urgency of the climate crisis, we demand that the BC NDP government:

  • Immediately halt logging in at risk old growth forests and additional areas suggested by First Nations
  • Provide fulsome and immediate financial support for First Nations to implement logging deferrals and resilience planning on their unceded territories, including Indigenous conservation strategies and compensation for any lost revenues and employment as a result of deferrals
  • Pursue full protection as the goal for all deferral areas, and invest to make protection the best economic option
  • Fulfill its election promise to implement all 14 recommendations of the OGSR panel by September 2023, within the 3-year timeline which government promised, including biodiversity legislation for all sectors, and provide regular progress reports
  • Urgently move toward the paradigm shift and resilience planning outlined in the OGSR recommendations, prioritizing ecosystem integrity and biodiversity as the highest priority of forest management and as essential in the climate crisis
  • Implement a just transition for all communities while moving toward a sustainable, second-growth forestry
  • Provide: regular and detailed updates on deferrals and long-term solutions to safeguard and restore at-risk old growth; communications on all forest stewardship related decision-making; and reports on timelines and progress to ensure transparency and accountability for all OGSR recommendations
  • Ensure forestry related decisions are fully compliant with free, prior, and informed consent and uphold the Title and Rights of First Nations pursuant to the government's responsibilities under the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Acknowledge the role of intact forests and sustainable forest practices in both limiting and mitigating climate change, and incorporate increased conservation targets into the CleanBC climate plan  
Saturday, February 25 All Out!

Initial signatories 
Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC)
Elders for Ancient Trees
Sierra Club BC
Wilderness Committee

Additional signatories to date
The AbbeyChurch / The Emmaus Community
Alberni Valley Transition Town Society
Anglican Diocese of Islands and Inlets
Anglican Diocese of Kootenay
Anglican Diocese of New Westminster
Awi'nakola Tree of Life Foundation (Kwakwaka'wakw Nation)
Alberta Regional Chapter of CAPE, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Arrowsmith Naturalists
Avalon:Secrets of Aquaculture
BC Chapter of CAPE, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment 
BC Chapter of CANE, Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment
British Columbia Coalition Institute
BC Environmental Network
BC General Employees Union (BCGEU)
BC Great Blue Heron Society
BC Nature (Federation of BC Naturalists)
BC Poverty Reduction Coalition
BC Teachers' Federation - Committee for Action on Social Justice
Be the Change Earth Alliance
Being Held Institute Ltd.
Bluewater Adventures
Burke Mountain Naturalists
Campbell River Whale Watching and Adventure Tours Ltd.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society -- BC
Canadian Research Institute for Advancement of Women
Capital Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Victoria
Center for the Promotion of Global Health
Centre for Spiritual Living, Nanaimo
Chase Environmental Action Society
Chemainus Climate Solutions
Chemainus Residents Association
Citizens’ Environment Network in Colwood (CENIC)
Clayoquot Action
Climate Caucus, a non-partisan network of 500+ locally elected leaders working on climate change, biodiversity, and social Justice across Canada 
Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver
Climate Emergency Institute
Climate Justice Victoria
Communities Protecting Our Coast
Community Trees Matter Network
Conservation North
Council of Canadians, Campbell River Chapter
Council of Canadians, Duncan ChapterCouncil of Canadians, Nelson/West Kootenay Chapter
Council of Canadians, Mid-Island Chapter
Council of Canadians, Nelson/West Kootenay Chapter
Council of Canadians, Powell River Chapter
Council of Canadians, Terrace Chapter
Council of Canadians, Victoria Chapter
Cowichan Climate Hub
Cowichan Valley Naturalists
Creatively United for the Planet Society
David Suzuki Foundation
Denman Island Climate Action Network (DICAN)
Denman Islanders for Climate Action and Social Justice
Dignity Facilitation
Discovery Islands Forest Conservation Project
Doctors for Planetary Health - West Coast
Douglas College Faculty Association Climate Emergency Action Committee
Duncan United Church
Ecoforestry Institute Society
Elphinstone Logging Focus
Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association (EEPSA)
Esquimalt Climate Organizers (ECO)
Esquimalt United Church Justice Team
Evergreen Alliance
Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo
Fairfield United Church
Farewell Island Lodge
First Metropolitan United Church
First Things First Okanagan
First Unitarian Church of Victoria
For Our Kids, Burnaby
For Our Kids, Sunshine Coast
For Our Kids, Vancouver
FORPA: Forest Protection Allies
Fraser Headwaters Alliance
Freedom from War Coalition
Fridays for Future Vancouver
Friends of Carmanah-Walbran
Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Friends of Cortes Island
Friends of Fairy Creek Society
Friends of Hyacinthe Creek
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society
The Fur-Bearers
Galiano Conservancy Association
Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society (GOMPS)
General Delivery Date Corporation
Georgia Strait Alliance
Great Bear Lodge
Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT)
Greater Victoria Climate Hub
Greater Victoria Teachers Association (GVTA)
Green Up, Oasis United Church
Greenheart Education
Greenpeace Canada
Halfmoon Bay Environmental Society
Hancock Wildlife Foundation
Highvibe Raw Living foods
Holy Cross Anglican Church (Vancouver)
Human and Nature Youth Club
iD2 Communications Inc.
Inclusive Christians at UVic
Island Forest Futures
Journeying Beyond
Juan de Fuca Forest Watchers
Julius Csotonyi's Paleoart and Scientific Illustration
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures
Koksilah Watershed Working Group
Lasqueti Island Climate Change Action Group
Last Stand West Kootenays
Lillooet Naturalist Society
Little Campbell Watershed Society
Living Language Institute Foundation
Mamas Movement
Maple Leaf Adventures
Metchosin Climate Action Team
Mindfulness Community of Victoria
Mothership Adventures Inc.
Mt. Willet Wilderness Forever
Mount Work Coalition
Music Declares Emergency Canada
Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT)
Nanaimo Climate Action Hub
Nanaimo GreenFaith Circle
NADPH, Nurses and Doctors for Planetary Health
Nature Salt Spring
Nature Vancouver
Nonviolence International Canada
North American Youth Parliament for Water - Canada
North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA)
Ocean Friendly Port Alberni
Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council
Old Growth Options Group
Old Growth Revylution
One Cowichan
Or Shalom Synagogue
Osoyoos Desert Society
Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society
Outer Shores Expeditions
Paddlers Inn (Broughton)
Palmer Ironworks
Parents 4 Climate
Pathways to Leadership with Racialized, Immigrant and Refugee Women's Society
Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance
Pender Harbour Wildlife Society
Pender Ocean Defenders
Pinto Management Consultancy
Polster Environmental Service
Programs in Earth Literacies
Protect Our Winters Canada
Protect the Planet Stop TMX
Protectors of the Salish Sea
Public Service Alliance of Canada, BC Region
qathet Climate Alliance
qathet Old Growth
Rainforest Flying Squad
RAVEN: Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs
Red Cedar Community Association
Refocus Consulting
River Voices Productions
Rolling Justice Bus
Saanich Eco Advocates
Salish Sea Environmental Educator's PSA Chapter
Salt Spring United Church
Save Old Growth
Shawnigan Basin Society
Shuswap Climate Action Society
Shuswap Environmental Action Society
Silva Forest Foundation
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
Social Environmental Alliance (SEA)
Socially Responsible Investing Cowichan
Socialist Alternative Canada
Socialist Alternative Youth UVic
SOFT-CV (Save Our Forests Team - Comox Valley)
South Island Climate Action Network
Spirit of the West Adventures
Spuzzum First Nation
St. Saviour's Anglican Church, Nelson
Sunshine Coast Conservation Association
Surrey for Future
Sustainable Environment Network Society
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society
Thriving Roots Preschool
Total Representation Society
Transition Kamloops
Transition Salt Spring Society
Transition Sooke
Tree of Life Nature Preschool
Valhalla Wilderness Society
Vancouver Island Peace Council
Vancouver Island Photo Tours
Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition
Vancouver Island West Teachers' Union
Vancouver Unitarian Environment Team
Victoria Climate Action Team
Victoria Natural History Society
Victoria Peace Coalition
Victoria Raging Grannies
Watershed Sentinel Educational Society
Wednesday Vigil for Ancient Forests
Wednesday Wonderers Hiking Group
West Coast Environmental Law
West Kootenay Climate Hub
Where Do We Stand, North Cowichan
Whistler Naturalists
Wildcoast Adventures Ltd.
Wildcraft Forest Foundation
Wildsight Invermere
Workers Solidarity Network
Yellow Point Ecological Society
Zero Waste BC
350 Canada
350 Vancouver

1 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives -BC
 Old Growth Strategic Review Summary, p. 17

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