Victoria BC: Big crowd protests old growth logging; Neil Young and Daryl Hannah special guests: “The necessary and simple answer is do no harm. … No further destruction.”

It’s always fascinating to me, but upsetting, how mainstream media report using photos showing a few attendees at such events at this one, instead of photos showing the thousands attending and marching, such as the photos above. Main media no longer serve the commons, just the rich and Status Rape & Pillage Quo.

Thousands rally at BC Legislature demanding immediate action for old growth forests by Sierra Club BC

Speakers, demonstrators call on Premier Eby to fulfill 100-day pledge and accelerate action for at-risk old growth


February 25, 2023

Lekwungen Territories (Victoria, B.C.) – On his 100th day in office, Premier David Eby was faced with a united call from thousands of people demanding he fulfill his pledge and work with First Nations to protect at-risk old growth and reform forest stewardship.

Photos and videos are available here.

Thousands marched through the downtown core of the province’s capital, led by Indigenous Peoples and drummers. Demonstrators raised banners, mobile murals and 3D art pieces through the streets, featuring endangered forest species. The march culminated in a rally in front of the BC Legislature. Speakers included Indigenous leaders and land defenders, scientists, and a surprise musical appearance from Neil Young.

“Old growth forests are vital for the health our lands and waters, our salmon and our culture, and the days of cutting them down need to end,” said walas ‘Namugwis, David Knox, a Kwakwaka’wakw Hereditary Chief and member of the Kwakiutl Nation. “Too much land in our territory has been destroyed, and this continues without the free, prior and informed consent of our chiefs and people.”

More than 220 organizations have now signed onto the United for Old Growth declaration, including the BC General Employees Union (BCGEU), the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association and the BC Teachers’ Federation Committee for Action on Social Justice. Initial signatories to the declaration are the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), Elders for Ancient Trees, Sierra Club BC,, and Wilderness Committee.

“Old growth forests are crucial ecosystems that humanity depends on⁠—an irreplaceable result of millions of years of evolution,” said Janelle Lapointe, and Afro-Indigenous climate justice and Indigenous rights organizer from the Stellat’en First Nation. “We must reject status quo politics that tell us we must choose between providing for our families and protecting the land, watersheds and forests that sustain us.”

Signatories and participants in this march and rally called on Premier David Eby and the BC NDP government to honour their promise to move faster to protect old growth forests and reform forest stewardship across the province. Today aligns with Eby’s 100th day in office, and demonstrators are looking to the Premier to take immediate, concrete steps to put at-risk old growth forests off limits to industrial logging – as a central part in fulfilling his 100-day pledge to accelerate action on old growth.

“Human beings have become the dominant factor altering the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale,” said David Suzuki, biologist and broadcaster. “In a critical moment when climate change and mass species extinction are undeniable, it’s an intergenerational crime to trash these priceless treasures for short term economic and political benefits.”

The BC NDP government promised to implement all 14 recommendations from the Old Growth Strategic Review in 2020, including to immediately stop (or defer) logging in the most at-risk old growth forests. The recommendations had specific implementation timelines, ranging from six months for deferrals to three years for establishing a robust monitoring system – but to this day not a single recommendation has been fulfilled, despite recent announcements from the BC government. The majority of the most at-risk old growth forests identified by the Technical Advisory Panel have not yet been deferred, and are still being destroyed.

March and rally organizers say the Declaration will remain a rallying point for old growth and invite more signatories to join to increase momentum and pressure on Premier Eby the B.C. NDP government to fulfill their pledge.

Neil Young, wife actress Daryl Hannah surprise crowd at Victoria old-growth rally (with video), Neil Young addressed the crowd between songs, saying old trees are sacred and precious by The Canadian Press, Times Colonist, Feb 25, 2023

Canadian music legend Neil Young made a surprise appearance Saturday at an old-growth logging protest rally at the British Columbia legislature.

Young played acoustic guitar and harmonica, and sang two songs: “Comes A Time,” which has a chorus about tall trees, and his hit “Heart of Gold.”

Young, billed as a “special guest,” was not listed as appearing at the event, where astonished protesters, many dressed as trees and wild animals, cheered wildly and sang along to “Heart of Gold.”

“Thank you Canada,” said Young. “You know I’m only here for those trees up there and it’s a beautiful, and it’s a precious, sacred thing, these old trees because they show us the power of nature when we are being threatened. They show us the past and they show us our future.”

“That’s something I hope our Canadian government and business section will recognize that this has to do with Canada,” he said. “It has to do with the ages, if we are lucky enough to have ages. These trees have lasted so long they deserve Canada’s respect.”

Earlier this month, the B.C. government introduced new approaches to manage timber resources to protect more old-growth trees from logging.

Premier David Eby said more areas are now being deferred from logging than ever on record.

The old-growth deferral is a government program in B.C. where old-growth areas slated for logging are now deferred until a later date or not logged at all.

The logging deferral of old-growth forests is now at 2.1 million hectares, up from last spring’s report of 1.7 million hectares, Eby said.BC Gov’t and industry can do much better than that Mr. Eby.

Young was introduced by his wife, actress Daryl Hannah, who said the cold weather was giving her a bit of brain freeze.

“Despite the complexities, the necessary and simple answer is do no harm,” she said. “No further destruction. Love, support and respect your elders.”

“Please lend your support to another type of elder, your fellow Canadian from a small town in Ontario.”

The hundreds of people attending the rally cheered wildly as Young, who appeared unannounced, took to the stage and started to play his harmonica.

Many of the people in the crowd dressed up as parts of the forest, including trees, bears, owls and frogs.

Above photos: Rosemary Baxter, resident of Courtenay BC., heading to the rally. Rosemary and her family were neighbours of mine when I lived west of Priddis Alberta in the 80s.

Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee said: “Sometimes you organize a rally and rock legend Neil Young comes and sings at it as a surprise.”

Young, 77, wearing a black hat and his trademark plaid shirt on Saturday, has had a long association with humanitarian and environmental causes, but hasn’t made any headline performances since 2019. He’s been a strong advocate of COVID-19 protections and did not perform at last year’s Farm Aid concert, an event he’s headlined for years.

He is expected to return to the stage in April for a charity show in Los Angeles with longtime CSNY bandmate Stephen Stills, raising money for autism.

The Toronto native is considered one of the most influential guitarists and songwriters of his generation, producing dozens of studio and live albums over his career, including with bands Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby Stills Nash and Young.

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