The word for world is forest

September 1st, 2020



Update: We raised $61,500 together for the Ancient Forest Alliance, thanks to your generous donations.

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Until Sept 30th, my wife and I will match donations to the Ancient Forest Alliance (up to a total of $25,000). Your donations will be used to pursue the AFA’s campaigns to end the logging of endangered old-growth forests in British Columbia.

Donate here and contact me by email or Twitter for a matching donation.

Many photos in this post are by AFA founder and photographer TJ Watt.



Last week I spent time exploring what remains of Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests. I wandered through groves of trees bigger than any I’ve ever seen. Through valley bottoms three-dimensional in the density of life and organic matter on the forest floors: centuries-old nurse logs hosting centuries-old trees and rich mats of moss. Across streams and beside emerald pools sparkling and pristine.



These trees build the atmosphere we breathe and upon which all life on earth depends. These forests clean the waters that we drink. They cool our hot planet.
The myths and stories we’ve been handed down – of the Forest Moon of Endor, of Fangorn, of Yggdrasil – are real. I didn’t see any Ewoks but I definitely saw Ents on this trip. But they’re disappearing fast.



Since colonization, more than 90% of the productive old-growth forests on the island have been logged. What is left is partially protected in parks, park reserves, and OGMAs (old-growth management areas). Much of it is being actively logged. The areas that are in reserves and OGMAs are being clawed back and requisitioned to support further logging.

This is what that looks like on the ground.




You can see these clearcuts from space.


It is sheer madness to continue to fell these irreplaceable trees and destroy these globally unique ecosystems in pursuit of short term industrial profit. To ignore the imminent threats and immediate impacts of climate change and demolish our most precious natural systems that counter those effects.

And yet ... everywhere we went: logging roads. And markers for the establishment of new roads. And stumps of fallen giants. And clearcuts.

We have a chance to stop this. To take stock of what we’ve lost and cherish what remains. To appreciate the profound responsibility we have to our ancestors, our children, and the web of life we share this Earth with.

The Ancient Forest Alliance has been at the forefront of this effort on Vancouver Island and the south coast of BC for the last decade. They’ve had huge victories: finding and protecting Avatar Grove and Echo Lake, holding off logging of Castle Grove and Jurassic Grove, and documenting and telling the story of Big Lonely Doug.

They’ve worked directly with First Nations, trade unions, political parties, and local chambers of commerce on the island to find alternatives to old-growth logging. These include sustainable second-growth forestry and eco-tourism.

They’ve learned from the successful protection of the Great Bear Rainforest and the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.

Join me in helping them in this work. The logging industry is desperately extracting whatever they can while the government allows it. They know time is running out. They know residents of BC support sustainable land use. Let’s put pressure on our governments and the timber industry to change our relationship to these resources and protect them for future generations.





Until Sept 30th, my wife and I will match donations to the Ancient Forest Alliance (up to a total of $25,000). Your donations will be used to pursue the AFA’s campaigns to end the logging of endangered old-growth forests in British Columbia.

Donate here and contact me by email or Twitter for a matching donation.








Previously on this topic: On Earth