The Good War and Generation Dread
The Readers and Writers Festival, last Saturday night’s main stage event was inspiring. Britt Wray and Seth Klein were both addressing the dreadful and dire personal, social and political issues related to climate change.
One mistake Seth Klein makes is to ignore the effects of cutting forests on climate disruption. Oil and gas resource extraction is always cited as the leading cause of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Often experts ignore how cutting old growth forests contributes to the causes of climate change. Also, the solution of protecting old forests for carbon sequestration is rarely mentioned.
Here are the facts that I have recorded in my notebook. In June 24, 2021, The Tyee reported that the logging of Old-Growth forests in BC emitted 23% more GHG emissions compared to BC’s energy sector’s 64.6 million tonnes. BC’s cutting of Old Growth emitted 305.3 megatonnes of GHG. BC does not include GHG emissions from logging nor from forest fires in their estimates of how much we are contributing to climate change. They keep forests apart from the environment so that they can pretend that logging is carbon neutral.
We humans need to live each and every moment respectful of the natural world’s brilliant intelligence. Nature knows how to sustain life without our help. We are destroying this planet and ourselves because we have set ourselves apart from nature. Dismantling oppressive global extractive systems begins with seeing our arrogant fearful egos. Submitting our lives to the laws of nature cannot wait until our bodies are finally buried in the ground. One place to start is to fall in love with forests and their plants and wild animals. “Sustaining long term relationships with long-lived plants is a rejection of The End, an affirmation that there will be-must be-tomorrow.” Jerrad Farmer from “A Modern History of Ancient Trees”
Above and beyond lobbying politicians to cut off the huge subsidies to the energy sector, as Klein urges, we need to digest the following important fact. According to Jim Pojar, BC biologist “an undisturbed OG forest will keep on sucking up and storing carbon dioxide for several centuries or even millenia.” An OG forest stores 1,000 tonnes of carbon per hectare. No need for expensive technological solutions to climate change. An OG forest is a superorganism that organizes biogeochemical processes essential to life on this planet, for example “Flying Rivers” are the process of pumping their moisture thousands of miles inland. Drought is caused by loss of forest canopy because not only do trees exhale oxygen, they also absorb light, cool air temperatures and create the essential water cycles. Tragically, monocropped plantation forests cannot withstand fire; global wildfires are increasing and the hole in the ozone layer is expanding.
So, if and when you lobby our MLA Josie Osborne, (Josie osborne.MLA.gov.bc.ca) please remind her of the above and that at the rate of current cutting, we have less than 7 years before all OG forests will be rendered extinct. Not to mention all the forest soils and plants that also absorb CO2.
As Jane Goodall puts it: “Every ancient tree felled, every species that becomes extinct, represents another threat to the future of this planet.”