Thursday, December 20, 2007


This year the winter solstice brings ill tidings to us northern folk. Canada was seen by the world as one of worst adversaries of environmental change.

At the Bali Climate Change Summit nations met to work towards a new global treaty, which would include setting carbon emissions for rich countries. Canada teamed up with the United States to block the consensus reached by all the other countries present at the global summit. Then a group of countries, all of which had signed the Kyoto treaty, tried to move forward without the USA but they were blocked by Canada.

In just a few days 110,000 Canadians joined a petition to let our political leaders know that they were not acting upon the wishes of the general public at the Bali summit. Thousands phoned, faxed, wrote, and e-mailed members of the government. At the 11th hour Canada finally backed down. All countries present at the summit booed the USA. At the last minute the USA finally reversed their negative stance.

600,000 signatures from 192 countries were presented to politicians at the summit demanding they recognize that the citizens of this planet want to work towards global climate solutions. However, as a result of Canada’s negotiations, massive compromises were established at the end of the summit. Regulations for emissions and other environmental standards were lowered significantly to meet the demands of Canada and the USA.

The European nations talk big but they also, are not meeting the regulations to reduce emissions set for the world. The Bali summit has merely established that countries in attendance have agreed to the framework for a Climate Change Treaty, which will be formulated and voted upon at a later date.

At home the Harper government claimed victory at Bali and continues to talk enviro-jargon after putting up a massive fight that has compromised efforts to reduce emissions and environmental damage to the atmosphere of this planet. Meanwhile the vast majority of Canadians want to reduce the environmental footprint we are making upon this planet.

Then again, checkout the malls. How many SUVs, massive trucks, single occupancy vehicles are in the parking lots? Consumerism is the number one threat to the environment. On an individual basis we all have an obligation to reduce the amount we consume. Most products contain plastic, deprived from oil and a great deal of oil was burned to deliver most items to the consumer. How long will the individual actually use the item?

Canada chooses to extract the mostly costly source of oil on Earth, while our government blocks international efforts to reduce green house gases. Many scientists agree that this economic oil boom will become our worst nightmare by destroying the atmosphere that provides us with life.

The largest deposit of tar sands on Earth is located in the Athabasca oil sands of northeast Alberta around Fort McMurray. Tar-sand oil extraction projects do the most damage to the environment of any energy source on the planet. First massive open-pit mining is used to remove the tar, which is fused with sand. As part of the extraction process vast amounts of clean water are used in a process called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage. The water is then discarded as polluted muck. Today in Alberta natural gas, primarily from northern British Columbia, is piped in and burned to generate electricity used to separate the oil from the sand. Plans are underway to build nuclear power plants to produce the electricity to meet the demand.

More than 80 kg of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere for every barrel of synthetic oil produced in Alberta, each refined barrel of oil weighs 130 kg. Gasoline refined from tar sand extraction is estimated to result in five times more carbon dioxide than conventional "sweet crude" oil production. The Boreal Forest Ecosystem, recognized as a vital part of Canada’s oxygen production and weather stabilization, is being destroyed by massive excavators scraping the topsoil away to dig down into the tar sand.

You can make a difference by joining the global movement which helps to bring the public’s message to the attention of international decision makers, for more information about public input into climate change check out:

Friday, December 07, 2007



Recent storms have once again proven that nature sets the rules of life. No matter how hard we try to divert water with roads, ditches, dams, causeways, dikes, and culverts a little bit of snow and a few drops of rain wreak havoc over our designs. Human beings are the weakest link in the natural scheme of things. The environment is in control yet we constantly claim supremacy over the world.

As development continues to put pressure on the natural world the attitude that we can manipulate nature to meet our needs seems to prevail over the reality that the natural environment provides for us. The dilemma humanity faces is that we have to learn to protect ourselves from the brutality of nature without destroying the environments that allow us to exist.

An idea such as building a concrete wall with buttresses along Parksville Beach to meet up with the rock dike built by Surfside RV will further change the natural shore line. This ‘solution’ to the problem of erosion flies in the face of the fact that the Englishman River estuary and adjacent floodplains have flooded, receded, and changed for centuries. That is how nature works. There will be serious consequences to altering the coastline to meet economic needs for commercial developments.

Humanity’s attempts to control nature sometimes appear to work, but in the long run devastation is the end result. The planet earth always prevails.

Surfing the web for information about how we, as a society, are addressing the many environmental issues we face, I was not surprised to find that it all comes down to money. Under the heading ‘Environmental Protection’ Statistics Canada lists everything according to revenues and expenditures. Perhaps this is because the information gathered is primarily from tax reports or perhaps it is because money is all that really matters to government.

It’s interesting to note that while the last statscan report was released to the public in September 2007 and all of the information dates back to 2004. Therefore there is no information about any changes that have occurred while the Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, have led a minority government.

To make absolutely sure that the public has no one to hold accountable the statscan website includes the following disclaimer: “In no event will Statistics Canada be liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential or other damages, however caused.”

It would appear that ‘environmental protection’ has become a major industry in Canada. That may appear to be a good thing but what are the results? That information is much harder to uncover, access, or define. In search of some answers I checked out the websites for both the federal and provincial ministries of environment.

I was amazed at how biased the information has become. The tone is heavily slanted by partisan politics and reinforces the parties in power. Information comes across more like public relations propaganda than statistical information based on scientific evidence.

Both the BC Ministry of Environment and the Environment Canada’s websites read like a series of accomplishments painting a glowing review of the government’s actions on behalf of the Environment. Its almost as if the environment is being used as a public relations ploy that will bring voters to support the political party with the most advertising savvy.

Barry Penner was appointed BC Minister of Environment and Minister Responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities on June 16, 2005. His title reads like PR spin and his time seems to be spent on a lot of photo-opportunities which appear to be carefully constructed to provide the biggest bang for the public’s bucks. John Baird was appointed President of the Treasury Board in 2006 before becoming Minister of the Environment for Canada. The website contains lots of sound bites and rave reviews about this politician with no acknowledgement that anything is wrong with how we, and our governments are treating the environment.

Don’t simply rely upon my interpretation of this research check out: If you’d like to find out about the BC Environment through the eyes of the BC Liberal government check out: For the Federal view of the Environment check out:

Friday, November 16, 2007


I just walked through the ‘not-a-clear-cut’ logged area between Qualicum Beach and Coombs. The second growth forest, once considered a buffer from previous logging, has just been leveled. ‘Single stem variable retention logging’ at its finest. Like sentinels left standing on a bleak and desolate landscape, a few deformed trees remain. A jumble of stumps, exposed root-balls, shattered trunks, branches, and exposed ground cover are all that remain.

Water from Hamilton Marsh flows directly into this wasteland on its way into French Creek. Heavy rains are flushing the silt, mud, and debris exposed by this logging operation into the tributaries of French Creek. Down stream are salmon enhancement projects, community water intakes, housing for thousands, and banks subject to erosion and collapse when run-off swells the creek.

This area is owned by Island Timberlands, which is owned by Brascan, which has changed its name to Brookfield. This “Global Asset Management Company” has just come out of a long strike with local forestry workers. Having logged this area they will be selling the land to a real-estate firm. In order for the unnamed developers to sub-divide and sell this land for residential and commercial uses they will have to apply to the Regional District of Nanaimo for rezoning permits to take this land out of its forest management designation. This will likely be approved unless the public takes a stand.

According to the Official Community Plan, established by the RDN and dedicated members of this community, this land is specifically reserved for forest management. The logged area closest to the Inland Highway is part of the RDN Area “G” while the clear-cut along what was once the ‘Coombs cut-off’ is in Area “F.” Rezoning would have to be approved by the RDN Board of Directors, which includes both local mayors.

The forest around Hamilton Marsh is also owned by Island Timberlands, which recently rejected a fair market value offer from the Regional District of Nanaimo in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada to purchase the land and protect it as park. Based on the direction Brookfield is taking, all forestland in the area will be logged and sold to real estate developers.

The provincial governments - the NDP initiated this legislation and the BC Liberals boast they have completed the task - claim they have protected 12% of the land base as parks. However, the majority of people living on Vancouver Island are concentrated along a thin corridor along the east coast from Campbell River south. In that area less than 7% of the land has been protected as parks. The primary reason is because industry and private people own most of the land.

All of the land between Victoria and Courtney along the East Coast of Vancouver Island, along with all land West to a line that runs between Port Renfrew and Port Alberni, is privately owned. In 1884 Prime Minister John A. Macdonald convinced coal magnate Robert Dunsmuir to build the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, something he had promised the citizens of British Columbia in order for them to join confederation in 1871. The government in Ottawa paid Dunsmuir $750,000 cash and 2.1 million acres of land on Vancouver Island along with all mineral rights.

Over the years the E&N lands were sold to small and large companies as well as to private individuals. As a result this entire Dunsmuir land area is not accessible to the general public and remains out of the jurisdiction of all levels of government. Most streams, lakes and swamps on the east side the island are held privately, including the bed of the water body.

One way out of this land squeeze is to limit re-zoning of land to that of the OCP. As it stands, the land Island Timberlands has logged is not zoned for housing or commercial development. Should they decide to ‘donate’ the entire forest around Hamilton Marsh to the RDN as a park, then their development firms may have a chance for re-zoning. Until then the limitation of forestland remains in place.

Contact Electoral Area “F” Director Lou Biggemann and Area “G” Director Joe Stanhope at Regional District of Nanaimo 6300 Hammond Bay Road Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2 as well as Community Planning 954-3798 E-mail:

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Oceanside prides itself on the fact that it is located along some of the finest beaches in British Columbia. People from around the world come here to enjoy the coastline and many of them retire here after multiple vacations. As a result the population is growing rapidly and demands on the shoreline have increased.

Parksville Beach has changed a great deal since I graduated from high school. Over time pavement, fences, grass fields, and blasted rock have taken over from the natural aquatic grass and sand. A hovercraft, operating from the coast guard station at the end of the point, regularly drove out over a flat beach at low tide and launched itself into the water. Today a massive gravel bar has emerged just off shore from this same point.

According to some experts the erosion of the Parkville’s shoreline may be the result of tidal and storm pressures being deflected into the bay by this large gravel bar. As a result the city has installed sections of blasted rock to prevent the paved road from being washed away. The City of Parksville is considering more changes to the shoreline in an attempt to stop this type of erosion.

The main change to that section of coastline is the massive blasted rock causeway built by Surfside RV Resort, dividing the Englishman River Estuary Floodplains from the Strait of Georgia. Man made changes to the natural coastline effect the flow of water by redirecting tidal and storm surges. All along the coast private land owners have installed dikes, concrete walls, and other barricades in order to alter the natural erosion of the shoreline.

An area known as the ‘Queen’s Land’ along all waterways was once protected from development but today it is very easy to obtain a license which allows property owners to alter the coast. Governments at all levels have abandoned the protection of the shoreline in exchange for increased tax revenue from expensive waterfront properties. However, there remains a legal right of way along all waterways which is accessible to the general public which can not legally be blockaded by private property owners because the ‘Queen’s land’ belongs to all citizens of Canada.

In September the Stewardship Centre for British Columbia announced that it had been awarded a grant of $100,000 by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia for the Green Shores sustainability project. With a focus on social and economic development, the Green Shores Project aims to promote healthy coast and marine ecosystems by planning a design while working to benefit the environmental. It provides positive examples for property owners, developers and design professionals to address environmental and sustainability issues associated with increased waterfront development. Unfortunately, as a non-profit society it cannot enforce it’s recommendations but does provide information and tools to assess shoreline property and habitat protection.

“The need for sustainable approaches to waterfront development in the Georgia Basin and Strait of Georgia is accentuated by unprecedented residential and commercial growth,” said Project Coordinator Patrick Walshe. “Frequently we try to immobilize shorelines with cookie cutter solutions, yet too often this destabilizes the shore and its ecosystems, jeopardizing our coastal resources as well as the beauty and character of our coastal communities. There are many green alternatives in our tool kit, which can be catered to solve site specific issues more effectively.”

The project team will help to educate land managers, designers, planners, developers and builders working on ocean front development on Vancouver Island and the Georgia Basin, in an effort to develop alternative design concepts.
For more information visit the Green Shores website at

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I do a lot of hiking around the Oceanside area and it always amazes me, when at the end of a long series of logging roads or trails, to find garbage. Primarily plastic garbage. The most common are shopping bags, potato chip bags (plastic lined with aluminum), plastic used to hold aluminum cans together, car tires, and cigarette-pack-wrappers. Just take a look over the cliff on little mountain where the garbage has been piling up for years. Clean-up crews along the highway seem to be on endless duty picking up what people throw out of their cars. Littering is illegal and punishable by fine.

Most of these items are produced from petroleum, which has been refined, and then processed into products that take a very long time to disintegrate. Refining crude oil is a process whereby the most toxic and noxious chemicals are burned off into the atmosphere. A great deal of CO2 emissions are emitted prior to any oil products reaching consumers, these pollutants contribute to global warming by building on the green house gases effecting the planet’s atmosphere.

What is really astounding is finding garbage bags, twist tied and full of house hold garbage, that someone has taken this much care and attention to dump at the end of a long road in the wilderness rather than take it to a transfer station or a dumpster. Even worse, I’ve witnessed people burning plastic in their campfires as well as in barrels to get rid of household trash. Sure, it may seem easy to toss plastic bags, plastic utensils, styrofoam plates, and other plastics into the fire but the toxic fumes do contribute to green-house effects in the atmosphere. Like the canary in the mine, many species of birds have been dying due to toxins in the air we breath.

Of course the best way to avoid problems associated with plastic is to reduce the amount of plastic we consume as individuals. An easy start is at the grocery store, where millions of plastic bags are given away free. In Europe the standard has always been for people to bring their own hardy bags to the grocery store to put their products into for the trip home.

As most tourists who have visited Europe will attest, if you have no bag with you the store will sell you one for a minimum charge of $0.50 per bag. As a result most Europeans provide their own bags, this has become the norm rather than the exception. If local grocery stores began to charge for every plastic or paper grocery bag how long would it be until everyone brought their own bags. Which grocery story will start this trend? Perhaps they need some encouragement from you, their loyal customers. Many stores already provide strong durable bags at a small price.

Fleece and other polyester clothing is now available made primarily from post consumer recycled plastic materials. After all polyester is merely plastic spun together to make threads, which are then woven together into garments. Buying these recycled cloths supports an industry that is using up those plastic bags we need to reuse. By extending the use of these plastics you are preventing more crude oil from being refined to make polyester thread, less toxins in the atmosphere, less plastic to disintegrate.

Plastic containers are turned into building materials, which are now available at your local lumberyard in the form of studs and other forms of structural products. The Regional District of Nanaimo and all local municipalities have adopted a zero waste strategy, which allows the public to include plastic containers in their blue box for recycling. Those very same blue boxes are made from recycled plastic. For collection rules and more information contact:

It is a well-known fact that much of the CO2 emissions are produced from car engines burning gasoline, but there are many other ways that we use oil derivatives in our daily lives. Every drop of oil represents a landscape devastated by extraction, drops spilled along the way, gases emitted into the atmosphere in the refining process, and transportation costs including oil spills. Take care with how much plastic you consume and be careful how your deal with your garbage. If you would like to report illegal dumping contact local RCMP or the RDN toll free 1-877-607-4111

If you live elsewhere I can garantee you will find similair problems on any backroads. Please let your local government know.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Today society struggles to strike a balance in watersheds that have been battered for the past 150 years by logging, development, gravel mining, and road building. Despite this, and the fact that water is a precious resource, the destruction continues.

For many years now the Englishman River has been considered one of the top most threatened rivers in BC according to the Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia, with a total of 120,000 members. ( Englishman River is considered to be an example all of the rivers on the east coast of Vancouver Island, that flow into the Strait of Georgia Basin. All of these rivers are in a serious state of stress and decline.

The indicator species used by many biologists to determine the health of these rivers is the Steelhead Salmon, a species that returns to spawn many years in a lifetime. Snorkel teams counted 471 adults in February 1985, which was cause for alarm at the time since the returns once numbered in the thousands. By the year 2000 the winter count was 15, a count that went up to 43 in 2006.

A lot of attention has been directed at the Englishman River to try to bring the salmon back. A ‘salmon enhancement’ program has involved diverting water into excavated channels, ditching, egg and milk extraction, incubation pens, and fry release.

Multinational logging companies, TimberWest and Island Timberlands, continue to destroy the banks of local rivers with tree removal and road building. The resulting landslides, land erosion, and surface disruptions lead to massive amounts of dirt and debris in the flow of water. Heavy rains flush silt, loosened by logging equipment and dragging of logs, into rivers. Buildup of silt is known to suffocate salmon eggs buried in gravel. Channeling of water results in higher floods, which further erode riverbanks and level out pools.

Over the years governments have addressed some of the issues that face the watersheds locally but they tend to avoid drawing attention to the root causes of the damage. Instead, they claim that logging corporations provide valuable money for rehabilitation. These logging companies get massive tax breaks in exchange for money that is put into river restoration projects.

In the case of Englishman River attempts have been made to recreate pools and safe refuge for small salmon fry that get washed away when the river gauges out straight wide expanses between ever widening banks. These projects involved massive excavators, dump trucks, blasted rock, steel cables, logs with rootballs purchased from logging companies, chainsaws, and of course manpower paid with provincial and federal tax dollars.

River restoration, while logging the banks of the very same river, is similar to sticking a knife into your stomach and then trying to cover it over with band-aids rather than pulling out the knife and then attending to the wound.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages fish. The BC Ministries of Forests and Environment do not regulate logging on private land. The Regional District of Nanaimo is responsible for the dam at the source. Logging companies, various developers, and private landowners all stake their claim to the land on the banks of the river. Who is looking after the interests of the river and watershed?

On BC and World Rivers Day Sunday, September 30 much attention will be directed at the new Top Bridge Crossing where the Regional District of Nanaimo will be kicking off the grand opening of the new Englishman River Regional Park. Having spent $500,000 on a steel suspension bridge you can be sure to find many politicians.

Meanwhile a group of dedicated volunteers will be providing tours along the floodplain of the Little Qualicum River where Chinook Salmon are currently spawning. Sarah Casley, Education Coordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be performing a salmon dissection beginning at 11:30am. The largest Sitka Spruce on the east coast of Vancouver Island is hidden inside this jewel of a forest. Access is at the end of Kingkade Road just north of Qualicum along the Island Highway. The Little Qualicum River has received very little attention from local, provincial or federal government and continues to be threatened by development and logging.

Friday, September 14, 2007


On the Labour Day weekend I climbed the largest Douglas fir tree in the world, actually I took the elevator up. In order to operate my video camera I work with a team of professional tree climbers, all of them arborists, who rig the ropes. They hook my harness up to a rope while another climber, who has climbed up the tree beforehand, is attached to the middle of the same rope. A pulley allows him to act as my counterweight and a ground crew uses the rope to pull him down to the ground. I am lifted gentle up into the crown of the tree.

Moving up along the massive trunk of this Fir tree reveals deep grooves woven randomly in the bark, some as deep as 6 inches. Spider webs span these ravines, shimmering in the light. Many species of lichen adorn the brown/grey bark with bright splashes of white, green, and yellow. I float by the remains of a nest made by a tiny bird, perhaps a winter wren, fitted snuggly in a hole bored by a woodpecker.

At about 100 feet a lush aerial garden is wedged into the crotch where the first branch juts out from the trunk. Licorice ferns pock out of the thick mat of moss and lichens that clings to the top of this massive bough. The bright red dots of huckleberries contrast with the various shades of green and yellow moss as 3 huckleberry bushes stand firmly in the breeze. A 4-foot hemlock tree dominates this suspended paradise.

The Red Creek Fir is a ‘World Champion’ tree with the greatest volume of its species in the world. This is according to the Big Tree Registry of British Columbia, which lists the top 10 trees of every species. For some reason this Fir was allowed to stand while the forest around it was completely leveled by clear-cut logging, in fact the old logging road runs past the base of this incredible tree. This giant is 13.28 m (43’7”) in circumference, 73.80 m (242’) tall, with a crown spread of 22.80 m (75’)

I continued up the elevator to approximately 150 feet where the view of the San Juan Valley is incredible. Unfortunately gaping holes in the forest below reveal recent clear-cut logging in second growth forest. The entire valley has been logged and now Western Forest Products (WFP) is logging the area for the second time, faster, with larger machinery, and fewer workers.

We then moved to the other side of the valley where the San Juan Sitka Spruce grows. This is the largest Spruce in Canada with an 11.66 m (31’5”) circumference, height 62.50 m (205’) and 23 m (75’) crown spread. The massive trunk branches into several adjacent trunks, which are larger than many large trees.

Once the ropes were rigged I had to do some work and climbed a rope 200 feet to the top of this tree. Along the way I stopped frequently to admire the many aerial gardens along the way. Many large branches protrude from the trunks of this tree, providing platforms of moss, ferns, and small bushes. These platforms are ideal habitat for Marbled Murrelet, a red listed endangered sea bird which nests only in old growth forests.

Looking down at the San Juan river I am surrounded by many aerial gardens teeming with life. I am astounded to see two 3 foot tall ‘bonzai’ Douglas Fir trees growing out of the top of the main trunk which was blasted off by lightening many years ago. A 14 foot tall hemlock grows off another trunk, along with many smaller trees, bushes, ferns, moss, and lichens.

I’ve been climbing trees for a few years, pulling together a team that is allowing me to shoot a film about the canopy of the ancient rainforest of Vancouver Island. The climbing system we use allows me to move into the canopy with the least amount of damage to the tree since the gigging ropes are what my team and I climb on with only a few points of contact with the tree itself.

I have climbed with several researchers, including a team of Entomologists from UVIC who have been climbing into the canopy where they have discovered no less than 125 species of insect that were previously unknown. For more information:

This abundance of evidence proves that we know very little about the ancient rainforests. 85 of 91 watersheds on Vancouver Island have been heavily logged and less than 5% of the low valley bottom forest remains intact.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Canadians are demanding immediate attention to protect the environment and Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to be listening. He has appointed a new Minister of Environment, John Baird, to address the many concerns Canadians have about the environment.

In anticipation of an upcoming national election the rhetoric is flying and promises are being made. Today the iron is hot and any input will receive some attention from the office of the new minister. I encourage you to contact him. It is always wise to send a hard copy by snail mail but remember that e-mail, fax, and phone will each be processed by a different civil servant. The more people in the office that are made aware of your concerns the better. CC to related ministers at the same mailing address. Here is my letter welcoming the new minister:

The Honourable John Baird
Minister of the Environment
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 996-0984
Fax: (613) 996-9880

Dear Minister,

I am glad to hear Prime Minister Harper is finally beginning to listen to the people of Canada with regards to the Environment, and has appointed you to this important portfolio. It is time that the federal government of Canada fully implements the Kyoto Protocol to which Canada is a signatory.

Living in British Columbia I am very concerned about three key issues that are currently being initiated by the provincial government and which should be stopped by your office, since they affect the country as a whole and therefore must comply with Canadian standards for the environment.

The public has been led to believe that offshore drilling in the coastal waters of British Columbia has been put to rest by the federal government’s continued support of a moratorium. However, the BC government continues to allow sonic testing on the ocean floor and acts as if the moratorium will be lifted in the near future. I encourage you to stand firm by maintaining the moratorium on offshore oil and gas explorations in BC. In 2004, the federal government asked British Columbians their views on the moratorium through a public process that involved 3,700 individuals, many of whom work and live on the coast of B.C. Seventy-five percent of the participants told the federal government they wanted the moratorium on offshore oil and gas maintained. 70 BC First Nations were involved in this review, all of them support the moratorium. BC voters continue to says no to offshore oil and gas.

Put pressure on the BC provincial government to stop plans to build 2 coal-burning power generated and associated open pit mines. On December 21, 2006 Environment Canada released new greenhouse gas emissions data showing that across Canada in 2005, coal-fired generating plants belched out 280 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and remained among the nation's biggest polluters. Since your office is committed to reducing gas emissions you must stop the BC government from building new coal-burning generators.

Stop all logging in what little remains of old growth forests in Canada. Science has determined that forests are extremely important to the life cycles and functions of this planet. Trees filter air by taking carbon, nitrogen, phosphates, and other airborne chemicals in the atmosphere and fixing them into the soil where they can provide nutrients, in turn producing vast amounts of oxygen. Rainforests redistribute water, functioning as huge sponges to retain water and pumping vast quantities of water back into the atmosphere. Large tracts of intact forest help to stabilize weather patterns both locally and globally. Biologists have also determined that a ‘healthy forest’ is made up of trees that are multi-aged, multi-species, multi-sized, and multi-layered. These types of variations are only found in old growth forests and are not found in tree plantations. In fact scientists have determined that the rainforests found in the low valley bottoms on the west coast of Vancouver Island have a biomass greater than anywhere on earth, meaning that the density of living organisms per square meter surpasses even the famous Amazon rainforest. On Vancouver Island less than 10% of the original old growth forests remains, they must be protected.

It is time that our federal government gives priority to protecting the environment. I encourage you to act as do most of the people that I know.

Sincerely, Richard Boyce, BFA, MFA
Errington, British Columbia

cc. Gary Lunn - Minister of Natural Resources (
Stephen Joseph Harper - Prime Minister (