The Sticky Files - Marisca Bakker

Everyone can be a tree hugger

Marisca advocates for more trees

There are a lot of quirky holidays and days designed to remember certain things. For instance, last week, it was Lost Sock Memorial Day and later in the month it is Paper Airplane Day. I’m not sure who comes up with these and who sanctions them but if it is on the internet, it is true, right?

On May 16, it was Love a Tree Day. I think that is something we can all get behind. I’m not sure I know anyone who hates trees. (Except maybe certain trees during allergy season.)

My children and I recently watched The Lorax, the movie based on Dr. Seuss’ 1971 children’s book of the same name. It is essentially about someone getting greedy and cutting down all the trees to benefit his own business and ends up completely ruining the environment. It is a cute film with a good message. We need to protect the trees.

Even though Canada is home to 30 per cent of the world’s forests, roughly 318 billion trees, we still have a duty to look after our forests.

Wait, before you send me hate mail.

I truly believe our country can have a thriving logging industry and we can protect our forests. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

The forest sector contributed $5.6 billion to the provincial GDP in 2020 and $1.27 billion to the provincial government revenue for 2019/20. It is the a cornerstone of our economy.

The BC Chamber recently said the opportunity for BC to be a leader and support an inclusive, sustainable and competitive forest sector and provide good jobs for British Columbians is significant.

B.C.’s natural resource ministries along with First Nations and industry stakeholders, the government of British Columbia split the responsibilities of the Minister of Forest Lands Natural Resources and Rural Development into The Ministry of Forests and a new Ministry of Land Water and Resource Stewardship.

The new ministry is responsible for working with First Nations to co-manage land and resources, protecting drinking water and other provincial policy strategies and working with the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to manage fisheries and provincial species at risk policies.

This is a step the provincial government is taking in the right direction to try to have a thriving forestry industry while also protecting the environment.

On the other hand, a step the federal government has promised to take, is not taking root.

Before being re-elected in the last federal election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau pledged his government would plant two billion trees over the next decade if voted back in.

An audit of the program released earlier this year said that unless things drastically change, it won’t even get one-tenth of those trees in the ground on schedule.

Some people around here are taking matters into their own hands.

Last month, on Earth Day, about 20 people including members from Smithers Climate Action planted about 175 trees on a parcel of CN property leased to the Town of Smithers along Railway Avenue. The trees are one to two years old and a mix of larch, birch and spruce.

The Lorax ends with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

READ MORE: There is land — we just need to make it available


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