Listen to the wisdom
of youth


sive attitude to protect our status quo. We used such words on union organizers in the thirties and all it left us was an embittered group that to this day have not forgotten the abuse of the “hungry thirties.” And that embitterment has cost our system dearly in these times. Think about it. I have been a logger all my life and I have seen the abuses we put our own people to, and the abuses we put our land to, all in the name of progress. But I do not believe that these abuses in a sense of malice, but rather through ignorance. Hindsight is easy and those that cannot or refuse to relegate the past to where it rightfully belongs – to a betterment of the future – will only hit their heads against stone walls.
....The educational and media levels of our world today have given people the strength to stand up and be counted for, for their ideas, where they would never have stood in the past. A handful of men sailed on a fishboat to protest what they considered to be wrong – the testing of a bomb that could wipe out mankind. Critics were harsh on them – but my feeling is that, when and if the next bomb is tested, there will be more than one fishboat and a handful of men. There are rights and wrongs in this world – and all the grey areas in between cannot accommodate everyone. Someone must stand up and be counted if he believes.
....But the critics say – “yes, but why do they go so far? Why don’t they do it in the democratic way? Write to their member of parliament” How nice if this were the way, but the critics

....The issues grow. There is always a new issue, and environment is its name. The issues are large like the building of a Moran Dam on the Fraser River – or they can be small like the smoke from a furniture fac-tory, or they can be irreparable like the housing developments being built on our rich farmland deltas. They are becoming countless – the issues.
....These are the days that our forefathers looked to as only a dream – the days of more leisure and the unbending of backs from 16 hours of clearing a piece of land to live on. They wanted these days for they said that their children would have schools and would not have to slave like they did. They worked for it by using their tired backs and their tired muscles. And it all became a reality. The schools, the wars to protect what they called their way of life, and the cities and the factories and a truly new world of automation and speed.
This was all done by men – the fathers and the forefathers before them. They came from old countries that they were happy to leave – from famines, from religious persecution, from wars and from hunger. They had no time to look sideways at their world about them – they kept their heads down and they worked. They were caught up in the middle of a fast moving society that was out-building and out-inventing materials that man himself could not keep pace with. Forty hour weeks, paid holidays, unemployment insurance, more and higher schools, and as centuries have rolled by, there is now time – time to think time to look around: media that spreads information faster than it happens, and an awareness by the young that it might just be time for stocktaking. The young find, and bring out the issues – and there are many – for we traveled fast on that empire building trip, and we muddied some waters.


....The energy of the young is today questioning the empires built by those fathers and forefathers. They question whether a toxic spray should be used to kill brush, or repel a defoliating larvae. They question how much forest land should be cut and how much should be left in its natural state. They question the smokes, the waste discharges from mills, and they question our established policies of fisheries versus forestry. And they use their energy. Not unlike the energies that emerged when unions formed to protect the working man. And not unlike the energies that youth used in two wars to give Canada one of the world’s finest armies.
....So what is so strange or wrong about this burst of energy? Certainly, to the minds of many older people, it seems at times directed in strange ways. The sight of long-haired people in strange clothing parading a street with banners proclaiming an abuse of the environment is difficult for some to grasp. But isn’t it better than a parade of youth in khaki heading off for a war to kill other youths in other lands?
....This energy of the young is one of the most valued possessions we as a people own. After two world wars and a dizzying race into automation, is it any wonder that the young, with more time to think at their disposal than any youth has ever known, have suddenly called for a stocktaking? Is there a critic of this youth that at some time in his daily rounds doesn’t curse traffic jams, the noise of new skyscrapers being built, the lack of quality workmanship in manufactured goods, the price of local lettuce from the delta farms, or the wild and so called irresponsible strikes that plague us today? Think about these things, Mister Critic.
....I am annoyed when I hear the words “fraud” and “liar” used by the leaders of our system in management or government against the environmen-talists. I see no sense in taking a defen-

Continued on page 39
British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1972

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The Forests Around Us

should well know by now the power of a dedicated group that is deter-mined to make its voice heard. Or what have we built an advertising empire on this continent for, with its billions of dollars spent on persuasion, pressure and even untruths. Fathers and fathers before them would not believe the world of make believe and idiocy we have perpetrated on our young through the media of television commercials and television junk.
....And do our parliamentary people give good guidance to our young? Of course they do, sometimes, for we still have the best system in the world. But when federal ministers fight prov-incial ministers, and when politicians couch their words in fence-sitting phrases about the environment, our parliamentary system is questioned by the young. The instant media, TV and our reading have given us the world at our doorstep. We will understand other people in other lands better for the media. But the desperate search for news stories and headlines can hurt deeply when people are quoted out of context, quoted in pieces, are misconstrued by inept news gatherers.
....The critics of the environmentalists could do well to pause before answering these charges of the news stocktakers. What are they really saying? Maybe their facts are not quite right – but maybe we as industry gave them misleading figures to go by. The education of children in this province over the past fifty years as to the true meaning of their forests has been, to say the least, very uneducational. Why do we cut the forests – and have pulp mills and sawmills? No one has ever really stopped to think that our children would need to know this when they grew up. But in a province like B.C. that counts on fifty cents of every dollar as coming from the forest industry, it would seem essential that people be told – why we cut our trees!
....I’ve heard men talk about oxygen in new forests being better for the country, and we must get rid of the old decadent forest, and we’ve got to cut the old growth down so we can


have a tree farm system like Scandin- avia – I say nonsense – we cut those trees down because they are there and they can be sold for a living and a profit. And we’ve made some mistakes in the past in the manner in which our industry has grown, there is no reason to keep perpetuating these mistakes into the future.
....The loggers of our forest industry wouldn’t have been provided with blankets in our logging camps as soon as they were unless the loggers had grouped together and demanded it. We had some forward thinking bosses in the old days – but they weren’t all that way., It’s just part of man’s struggle to form groups and demand something better. But it is also a part of man’s struggle for enlightened govern-ment and manag-ment to educate properly – govern properly and to stand up and give intelligent reasons for the manner in which they manage our industry. The art of listening to others at times seems like a lost art.
....There will always be opposition – that is what has made our system strong. The opposition of the forest industry today is the environmentalist. For our industry to move on to better heights and to keep people working, and to keep it profitable for business to stay in business, will depend on this industry’s ability to move with the times. Every schoolchild knows the word pollution today. Every workman in his industry has eyes to see the effluents and abuses about him. And the youth have that valued heritage left them by fathers and fathers, - time to think.
....Wild statements – cries of forests being raped – demonstrations – placards – sure. There is an energy there that we cannot allow to go wasted. Listen for a bit – don’t get up tight, maybe it is time for stocktaking – those voices you hear have the sympathies of the very young, the workmen in our forest industry and just too many quiet allies to allow the critics the complacency of a defensive attitude. It’s a better and wiser move to step out to them and try to understand what they are really saying. I think our forest around us could be richer for such a move.
.... ....Keep out of the bight,

British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1972