Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grandmother Cedar

[Photo of Ken Wu, Ancient Rainforest Alliance,
standing beside a thousand year old cedar stump in Avatar Grove,
near Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, a few hours from me.
Photo by T.J. Watt, as published in the Victoria Times Colonist March 4, 2011.]

Grandmother Cedar,
instead of cutting you
to be pulped into toilet paper,
for wiping the
disconnected assholes
of the world,
we should be

My apologies to anyone who is offended by my bluntness. But I am offended - and outraged - that our government STILL allows the multinationals to clearcut these last remaining rapidly-vanishing thousand-year-old giants.

Jack Knox, a columnist at the Victoria Times Colonist, published this photo yesterday, with his column about a Mideast-based news network which recently featured a story on our logging "practices" (or the utter lack of them). Local environmentalists are excited that some 220 million homes around the world will hear about the clearcutting. Raised awareness might hopefully help turn the tide, and return  some sanity  to both legislators and logging companies, before they desertify the entire planet and turn us into bacon crisps.

"International audiences will be astounded to see that British Columbia still has 1,000-year-old trees with tree trunks as wide as living rooms and that tower as tall as downtown skyscrapers - and horrified to know that our government still sanctions cutting them down on a large scale," said Ken Wu, executive director of the Victoria-based Ancient Forest Alliance, which is campaigning to end old-growth logging in areas where such trees are scarce.

"Wu and Metchosin's T.J. Watt guided the Toronto-based Al Jazeera crew around the Port Renfrew area, taking in clearcuts and the stand of massive trees they have dubbed Avatar Grove." (Victoria Times Colonist, March 4, 2011, by Jack Knox)

Will human beings of the future still be able to see thousand-year-old cedars? Or even hundred-year-old trees? 

Tune in next century.


  1. Amazing Sherry, that they allowed this cut....what a waste and shame....I am glad someone is publishing this tragedy for the world to see what is happening ....bkm

  2. I was gratified when I visited New Zealand. Their logging industry is large. But it is "based around sustainably managed exotic plantation forests... approximately 7 percent of New Zealand’s land area" (4.3 million acres). Another 1.6 million acres of forest are managed by NZ Dept. of Conservation. (per the NZ Ministry of Agriculture). Trees are harvested in rotation. When a tree is cut, another is planted. Although I'm sure there are abuses, I was impressed.

    It goes beyond that, though. 50,000 years ago or more (carbon dated), forests of enormous kauri trees on NZ's North Island were felled by "some catastrophic event." Covered by swamp, they were preserved in perfect condition. NZ has been "harvesting" these trees and using the wood. There's lots on the Internet about it if you're interested.

  3. Very interesting and inspiring information about New Zealand. Thanks for letting me know. I dont see North America being that evolved any time soon, but it's good to know it can happen.

  4. YES, Sherry…well said!! I cannot believe this kind of thing still goes on, either, when there are viable alternatives. I like Pattikens comments about NZ…I know some small-scale salvage of flooded forests goes on in B.C…and there’s a wonderful movement reclaiming wood from the thousands of acres devastated by the Pine Beetle to make unique furniture that bears its bluish mark. I’m sure it’s easier and more economical for the industry to continue proven methods, even if it means razing old forests, but why are other possibilities not get actively investigated??

    Didn’t mean to rant, Sherry, but you and I have seen these old wonders and know what’s at stake…so frustrating!

  5. Wow, Sherry! I thought those really old, big trees were protected. They should be.

  6. I know! One would think this wouldnt still be happening. But it is. Right now in Clayoquot Sound, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, an island right near Tofino is in danger of being logged, not to mention a strip mine being planned for Catface Mountain, across the harbour. There are so many economically and environmentally sound alternatives, it is mind boggling that this is still happening. Discouraging.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!