Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Enviros test premier’s fax

September 29, 2005

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, as the saying goes, and it would seem you can’t save a chunk of the rainforest without pulping a few trees for paper upon which to print your message

A coalition of environmental groups has launched a fax campaign to encourage premier Gordon Campbell to ratify the agreements to stop logging in one-third of the Great Bear Rainforest (known to the government as the Central Coast), and to conduct ecosystem-based management in the rest of the area. The four groups in the coalition are Greenpeace, the B.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, the Rainforest Action Network and Forest Ethics.

“This is the one of the world’s rarest and most endangered forests and the largest unprotected coastal temperate rain forest left on Earth,” says a fax that visitors to the website www.savethegreatbear.org can send directly to the premier’s office. “The world is watching and waiting for these agreements to be ratified, as you have committed, by September 2005 . . . The time to act is now.”

As of last week, some 3,000 faxes had been sent by visitors to the website, says a communications consultant working on the campaign. Another 5,687 faxes were banked on the website, she adds, and over 1,000 had failed. And 35,000 more, collected by environmental groups, are also waiting to be sent. “A bunch keep failing because there are too many to go through.”

Amanda Carr, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace who helped negotiate the agreements, says 70 percent of the messages have gone by e-mail. However, she adds, “It’s important for the message of British Columbians to have a strong presence in the premier’s office, and faxing is a way to do this.”

The premier’s press secretary, Mike Morton, has certainly noticed that presence. “Every day when the secretaries come in, the machines are void of paper,” he says. The office has received much correspondence about the central coast over the past four years, he says, but “We’ve had probably 2,000 [faxes] in the past five days.”

Asked how many trees that represents, he says, “It’s safe to say a fair number of cubic metres of B.C. timber have been used to deliver their message.”

While the environmental groups might want to re-think wasting a precious resource to send form letters, it would seem the government could also stop the carnage by ratifying the agreements in the first place.