In recent weeks, there has been a proliferation of letters to the editor, and spot ads on radio and social media, giving us industry’s “poor me” version of what’s happening to forests on Crown land here in Nova Scotia.
Apparently, too many citizens have been writing letters to papers or speaking on the radio, calling attention to what they are seeing with their own eyes. For those who have examined recent aerial photos of some of the areas under public scrutiny, forest scenes in the commercials just don’t seem to jibe. Neither does the narrative that industry is performing a great service to Mother Nature and her creatures by ridding forests of the nasty, superfluous trees that are somehow getting in the way of biodiversity.
Here in Canada, we look with sadness and anger at the loss of forest habitat and biodiversity in other parts of the world. Rainforests are hacked down, displacing and killing orangutans in order to establish palm oil plantations in Borneo. Illegal logging chips away at the last forest groves where Monarch butterflies overwinter in the biosphere reserve in Mexico.
But how much better are we doing here in Nova Scotia? While a number of smaller, sustainable-minded forestry companies and co-operatives are willing to give migratory songbirds a “silent season” break during nesting season, most industrial-sized companies steam ahead with their chopping and shredding, knowing full well the dirty secret that countless birds and nests are being destroyed each summer in what is defined as “incidental take” under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. It’s illegal, but almost never prosecuted.
Likewise, our mainland moose population continues to decline until it is now believed that we may have less than 200 animals remaining. And still we cut and hack away at the forests, all the while patting ourselves on the back and declaring that we’re doing a good job of protecting the species while still managing to fill those trucks with logs and wood chips.
But look what happens when citizens come forward to state that all is not so wonderful and rosy as industry’s idyllic picture of forestry in harmony with Mother Nature. We, the public, are told that we threaten precious jobs and are responsible for loss of profits.
Through the magic of spot ads and letters to the editor, we the public become the evil villains who, by standing up for nature, are supposedly stealing jobs from “hardworking people” (that hackneyed phrase constantly tossed around like rice at a wedding).
I suppose all that can be said is that, at least here in Nova Scotia, we just denigrate and/or arrest our environmental defenders rather than assassinate them, as happens in Mexico and other parts of the world when people stand up for nature.
How sad that we have so little respect for nature and for the people who care enough to defend it.
Bev Wigney , Annapolis Royal
See also: A picture is worth a thousand words: How clearcutting erodes connectivity between wilderness areas in Digby County
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