The streets of downtown Victoria were packed with people on Monday afternoon as dozens of demonstrators against old-growth logging drummed, chanted and marched their way to the B.C. Legislature., marking the one-year anniversary of the Fairy Creek blockade.
The ongoing blockade efforts have been in an attempt to stop the logging of old-growth trees near Port Renfrew.
Activists like Teagan Hansen, a forest campaigner with Stand.earth, said the ancient trees — which have been living for hundreds of years — share nutrition and water and help protect the younger trees around them from insect and fungal invasion.
“It’s hard to overexaggerate the importance of old growth forests. They’re vitally important to local communities, for protection from fires, protection from floods, protection from drought. They’re also important for wildlife and they store incredible amounts of carbon,” she said.
She delivered a petition to the Green Party with more than 150,000 signatures from around the world calling for an immediate end to old growth logging.
“The response from the government has been underwhelming. It has been delay, deflect, defer, but not defer the logging on old growth which is what needs to actually happen,” said BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau.
Organizers of Monday’s protest agree.
“Sadly, Premier Horgan and his caucus don’t believe there are any short-term solutions to these complex problems. We believe there are,” reads a statement from ForestMarchBC.
“One of the most critical solutions that we have to implement is the protection of biodiversity and the protection of forests which is some of our best defenses against climate change and this is what needs to happen,” Furstenau added.
She said the Green Party will present the petition to the legislature in October.
Activists have continued to establish a blockade out at Fairy Creek, despite an injunction order being issued by the B.C. Supreme Court. back in April.
Since enforcement began in mid-May, police have arrested 523 people as of Aug. 5, and arrested dozens more on Monday after RCMP moved in on the largest encampment dubbed “HQ” for the first time ever.
CHEK News reached out to the Pacheedaht First Nation about the one year anniversary and the ongoing blockade efforts, but did not receive a response in time of publication.
However in late July and in previous statements, the First Nation made it clear that it does not welcome “unsolicited interference,” including third-party activism.