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Ingmar Lee Online

Greenwash Blowout

Harpo and Gordo blow $120,000,000

The entrenchment of environmental myopia and repression by government, industry and media being such, it has taken until 2007 for the political establishment to generate a trickle of interest in BC's maelstrom of tidal resources. Canada's consumption-economy politicians have long sneered at a growing diversity of alternative energy-production and conservation opportunities in favour of the enormous, centralized, capitalist, planet-killing fossil-fuel economy. But suddenly last week, there was "Canada's New Prime Minister," ~Bush-buddy "Steve" Harper, all self-inflated in his floater-suit and strutting against the back-drop of the pathetic little prototype lunar-power generator now keeping the lights on at Race Rocks lighthouse.


Harper was there to pronounce that "Canada's New Government" was turning over a new leaf, and was finally signaling interest in the environment. Clearly annoyed with having to capitulate to a gathering environmentalist momentum, and calculating the political odds of spouting green while driving the status quo, Harper delivered a disingenuous monotone announcement, messaging to the corpocracy his governments general disinterest in all things green, while delving into the strange, uncharted political world of Canada's rapidly growing green community. Canadians may be waking up to the impending global ecological catastrophe, but our corpulent right-wing governments are still asleep. And even if he did care a fig for the environment, Harper's stubborn neocon ideology cannot be reconciled with any such glacial-paced, kicking and screaming green epiphany. 

Yesterday, in yet another stage-managed PR greenwash gambit, Harper jumped straight onto Gordo's faux-green bandwagon in a joint-venture spin-blitz over the beleaguered Great Bear Rainforest. That Canada's most blatant forest-wrecking neocon's are now exploiting this dreadful deal which gives over 70% of the Belgium-sized ancient forest to industry as 'environmental progress' is, as Karen Wonders describes on her insightful website, a clear example of "unethical appropriation." In hard-core neocon PR vocabulary, Gordo/Steve sluiced another $30 million into the massive, now $120 million greenwash campaign which purports to the world that British Columbia's rapacious logging industry can produce the same amount of fibre while doing less damage to what remains of BC's ancient forests. That's the equivalent of trading off the Earth's most significant remaining chunk of intact temperate rainforest wilderness for half a new 747 Jumbo jet.

It is interesting that the Campbell/Harper press release does not mention their corporate-Engo negotiating partners, namely Greenpeace, Sierra Club of BC, ForestEthics and Rainforest Action Network who are providing the greenwash for this deal. "Canada's New Government's" new Bushian message-management apparatus had to squelch Campbell's unseemly provincial pitch, which has neocons collaborating with so-called enviro's. "Canada's New Government" is slathering for votes in BC and has brought in the big PR guns to spin its born-again faux-green conversion to this bitterly polarized province . That Harper will not be associated with these groups is a testament to a long-enduring myth that Greenpeace and Co. still "Stand Tall" for the environment in BC, ~the reality being that the once significant power of the BC environmental movement has now been squandered by corporate-ENGO cooperation, capitulation, and collaboration, even as Canadian's shout out for environmental progress. Campbell, now approaching the end of his illustrious neocon career risks little political capital by hobknobbing and collaborating with quisling, cooperative enviro groups, but Harper still cannot be mentioned in the same message.

Campbell's own neocon government has steadily dumbed-down every single environmental, restorative or remedial regulation which at least purported to protect BC forests, and has accelerated the mowing-down of the same very irreplaceable ancient forests described here (below) in his press announcement as " the largest intact temperate rainforest left on earth, home to thousands of species of plants, birds and animals. There are 1,000 year old cedar trees and 90 metre tall Sitka spruce lining rich salmon streams that weave through valley bottoms, providing food for orcas, black bears, grizzlies and eagles." This language is clearly an "unethical appropriation." There is no precedent for this sort of language in anything Gordo has ever said before, so this just has to be the utterly shameless Harper talking. Campbell's forestry vocabulary is limited to what his major political financiers, ~virtually all logging corporations, wish to hear. Campbell has served his logging industry masters well, mercilessly gutting BC's already gutless Forest Practices Code, trying to privatize BC's vast public forest lands to give them over to industry, slashing and terminating the entire BC Environment Ministry, kowtowing to the American logging industry and lumber lobby, and consistently marginalizing, insulting and criminalizing BC's heartbroken forest protection activists.

Campbell's widely-lauded-in-the-corporate-media "Great Bear Rainforest" (GBR) deal has left only 30% of this "largest intact temperate rainforest" on the planet protected, (although trophy-hunting, mining and hydro-development continues to be allowed in that 30%). The so-called "Eco-System-Based Management" (EBM) by which the remaining 70% is to be logged has not at all been defined (and will not commence until 2009), -allowing for the free-for-all industry massacre of the most precious biodiversity hotspots and valley-bottom sites which is occurring right now. Even the science upon which EBM was to be based was compromised, -during the 7 year closed-door negotiations, the scientific team consensus was that 45-70% of the forest would require outright protection in order to preserve its biodiversity. The 30% so-called "protected" aspect of the deal reverses the scientific geographical/ecological equation. We've seen all this same pro-logging PR spun out in many different ways before, -after the Clayoquot protests, commitments were made to stop clearcutting, for example. What we got instead was the scam of 'variable retention' logging, whereby clumps of marginal timber, or single trees spaced every hundred metres are now retained in the erstwhile clearcuts. Nobody has any idea what EBM will look like, except that the standard of logging will be much less stringent than the Forest Stewardship Council principles for ethical, sustainable logging. (we are hearing news that even the once-lauded FSC is also now stooping to compromise with logging companies) And to add insult to injury, during the negotiations, Campbell's enviro-partners suspended any protest campaigns or criticism of brutally accelerated logging on Vancouver Island and forests across the province.
East Creek, on Vancouver Island was sacrificed by the Sierra Club for the GBR deal.

If anyone has any doubts about just how much damage this logging onslaught will wreak on the Great Bear Rainforests before the "newer, gentler EBM logging techniques" kick-in in 2009, they should take a fly-by of the now updated Google Earth images of East Creek on Vancouver Island, (at the northern foot of the Brooks Peninsula), which was untrammelled intact wilderness until LeMare Lake Logging pushed a road into it just three years ago. If there had been any semblance of effort to log those forests even by the farcical standards of the UBC-prescribed 80-100 year rotation cycle which has guided forest management principals in BC, then no more than 1/80th of that forest should have been logged every year. The idea being, that in the utilitarian vision of liquidation-conversion forest management, once you've logged to the end of a valley's merchantable timber after 80 years, then you get to start again at the front. The BC public needs to understand that the provinces magnificent forest biodiversity is threatened by this "fibre-per-year-per-hectare" corporate management vision. No wilderness can survive an industrial tenant which is hell-bent on reducing rotation cycles down to the fibre that can be taken off the cutblocks annually with lawnmowers. The postponement of EBM until 2009 in the GBR is the final ecological insult, which allows a significant window of aggression for BC's forest destroyers to go in and do their damage.

While you're cruising Google Earth, take a shocking flight around Vancouver Island which has been virtually entirely stripped of its once magnificent forests. Of its 91 watersheds, 85 have now been roaded and gutted by industrial logging. Of the 12% that has been protected as a result of pitched confrontations with forest protection activists back in the days when the enviro-community worked together against the forces of destruction, more than 6% is rock and ice, -above the treeline. Logging started 150 years ago on Vancouver Island, ~it took 120 years to cut the first half of the island's ancient forests, with the rest being stripped off in the last 30 years. And rather than await the long-discussed "fall-down" whereby there was expected to be a 30-year logging hiatus caused by unsustainable logging practices while the timber grew to the 80-100 year rotation age prescribed by the UBC School of Logging in the first place, the industry has thus-far bypassed the falldown by voraciously mowing into second growth forests down to the 30 year-old range.

It is Vancouver Island's "second pass" which now supplies the bulk of the fibre to American saw-mills in the form of raw-log exports, a nefarious business massively ramped up by the Campbell regime. Fly around BC. See for yourselves! There is nowhere else on Earth, not Siberia, Ontario, the Amazon or on Borneo that features clearcutting on this scale. Recently, I attended the two-day UVic "Clubs Day" where 1000's of students browsed through dozens of tables, signing up for various extra-curricular activities such as the Sailing Club, Islamic Club, the federal Liberals (who initiated discussion with student browsers by making the distinction that they were not associated with the BC Liberals), the NDP (federal and provincial at the same table) the Greens, (federal and provincial at the same table) or even the UVic BC Young Liberals. "Canada's New Government" did not bother to have a presence at the UVic Clubs Day, -the only politicians not to do so. And over at the "UVic Young Gordon Campbells" table, although a poster of our bleached-and straightened-teeth-smiling Premier had been stapled up, and various propaganda items were displayed on the table, nobody was there...-all day, both days.

I can only assume that it's becoming difficult to put the greenwash lie of environmental progress out to university students these days, and UVic's "Young Gordon Campbells" and "Young Stephen Harpers" just couldn't muster up the gall to spin the greenwash BS. People need to wake up and understand what's happening to their magnificent primaeval forests, and to recognize that they are irreplaceable and priceless beyond measure. They are being wantonly destroyed for a pittance of return to the people of BC, while American logging CEO's get fat and fatter. Massive deforestation is a major feature of the Global Ecological Catastrophe, and there's nowhere on the planet that is being stripped of its forests as voraciously and efficiently as BC.

Please start protecting BC's final ancient forests. Stop electing neocon governments and swallowing their unethically appropriated spin.