New Breed Of Activism Born In Weyerhaeuser Clearcut
Largest Since Clayoquot Sound Blockades And Largest-ever Gathering In Upper Walbran First In A New Series of ”ėExtreme Art’ Actions By Spectral Q VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC - On Thanksgiving long weekend in Vancouver Island, 500 citizens of British Columbia came together for a musical uprising to bear witness to one of thousands of Canadian clearcuts by US-based logging giant Weyerhaeuser, the number one destroyer of old growth forests in North America. It was the largest forest protection gathering since the Clayoquot Sound Blockades and the largest ever in the Upper Walbran.
John Quigley, aerial artist and founder of Spectral Q Ken James, vice president of Youbou TimberLess Society Ken Wu, executive director of Western Canada Wilderness Committee Victoria Brant Olson, director of the Old Growth Campaign at Rainforest Action Network
Testimony by artist and grassroots supporters
Today (Tuesday, 12 October 2004, 1:00 p.m.)
On Canvas Gallery, 538 Yates Street, Victoria
While people from all walks of life raised their voices in song celebrating humanity’s universal spiritual connection with Earth’s ancient forests, aerial artist John Quiqley shaped the chorus into 60,000-square foot living human sculpture calling on companies like Weyerhaeuser to “wake up,”Ě end destructive forestry and protect all remaining old growth. The “Tree of Life Celebration: A Global Call For Endangered Forest Protection”Ě was the first in a new series of Spectral Q ”ėextreme art’ actions that will bear witness to falling forests, melting glaciers, polluted air and other warning signs of an endangered planet.
Weyerhaeuser is profiled on BuyGoodWood.com, an internet initiative encouraging companies to purchase environmentally ethical forest products. The web site goes behind Weyerhaeuser’s eco-messaging and graphically conveys the environmental devastation caused by old growth clearcuts and toxic tree farms. It helps customers learn about independently certified good wood alternatives by connecting them with internationally respected organizations including the Forest Stewardship Council, Co-op America and the U.S. Green Building Council. The site also features a model environmental policy and a list of hundreds of companies that have already committed to buying good wood including Bank of America, Boise Cascade, Burger King, Citigroup, FedEx Kinko’s, Home Depot, Lowes, Mitsubishi, Centex Homes, KB Home and more.
In South America, Weyerhaeuser controls hundreds of thousands of acres of ecologically barren tree farms and may soon start spreading genetically manipulated trees. Weyerhaeuser’s wood purchases from critically endangered tropical rainforests throughout Southeast Asia have a well-documented history of promoting corruption and illegal logging throughout the region. Weyerhaeuser is opposing third-party audits that would verify ethical environmental practices and independently certify wood and paper products as sustainable.
"Ancient forests are as much a part of BC's identity as the Canucks and whale-watching,”Ě said Ken Wu, executive director of Western Canada Wilderness Committee Victoria. “Seventy five percent of Vancouver Island’s pristine old growth forests have already been destroyed, and less than six percent of what remains is protected. Clearly, the movement to protect Vancouver Island's ancient forests like the Upper Walbran Valley is growing. There are no local deals for Weyerhaeuser here. Concerned citizens are speaking out and making it clear that Weyerhaeuser is not welcome in the Upper Walbran Valley or old growth forests anywhere in Canada.”Ě
"Local communities, not corporate America, should control Canada’s forests,”Ě says Ken James, a former BC mill worker and the current vice president of the Youbou TimberLess Society. “As multinational corporations like Weyerhaeuser divide up the last of British Columbia's public forests, our communities are suffering the burden. When Weyerhaeuser clearcuts our forests, they are also clearcutting our jobs and destroying local economies.”Ě
“Weyerhaeuser is turning beautiful British Columbia into a scarred landscape, shares Brant Olson, director of The Old Growth Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. “On Saturday, we came together to bear witness to what Weyerhaeuser calls ”ėvariable retention,’ industry greenwashing for virtually clearcut. With logging rights to almost half of Vancouver Island and an increasing percentage of the Boreal, Weyerhaeuser has colonized many of Canada’s last pristine old growth forests and is leveling them one cut block at time. Old growth forests are the ecological cornerstone of a stable climate and essential providers of fresh air and pure water. It is time for Weyerhaeuser to wake up, end its destructive practices and protect old growth forests worldwide.”Ě
Broadcast b-roll and hi-res stills available at Victoria news conference and online at www.TreeOfLifeCelebration.org.