Viewpoint: Forest framework needed

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By SHEILA DOBIE

Is the provincial government heading for real changes for our forests?

What is going on with our local efforts to change how we are protecting the forest right here at home?

What is the response to a loud voice to protect of what is left of our old-growth forests?

Join communities across B.C. as we unite for the forests.

A Forest March is planned this coming Friday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. in the United Church Meadow. Our MLA Adam Olsen has been invited to speak on the provincial directions. And Island Forest Watch will speak about the local scene with our forests, current efforts to protect them and tools we can use to be stewards of our forests.

It’s time to build a new forest framework that respects nature and Indigenous systems and gives power back to communities.

This “march” will look very different from past gatherings. We must limit numbers, keep spacing, get contact numbers of those present and wear masks. And yet still, our hearts and minds will come together for our forests. Amidst all that we hear and know going on around us in this turbulent time, our forests factor prominently in what can be done now; in stewardship, protection and acknowledgement in their role for a healthy planet.

For this gathering on Friday, if it’s raining we will move to the Portlock Park shelter. We are grateful for the ASK Salt Spring group’s use of chairs and sound system.

If you are not able to attend on Friday, there are several creative ways to act for our forests.

Did you know that the Islands Trust has a Guide to Environmental Friendly Building and Renovating in the Southern Gulf Islands? In the latest edition of the Gulf Islands Real Estate the Driftwood published a summary of this guide.

The first words of this summary are: “Maintain as much of your property as a natural undeveloped areas where only native species grow. Conserving existing natural areas is by far the most effective way to conserve plant and animal biodiversity on our islands.”

From there it goes on to describe a whole series of ways to be stewards on this land. The full document is eight pages long, clearly written and found on the Islands Trust website in the Media section.

This could be a great talking point with your neighbours, friends and newcomers to this island. And realtors, please give this to every one of your clients.

Take a walk in our precious forests and be still for a moment to understand and feel what they are giving us. It’s called Air. Life. Beauty. You name it!

The writer is a member of Island Forest Watch and submitted this piece on the group’s behalf.

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