The Forest Around Us
How to sell a forest
....“Oh, so you’re a logger—one of those fellows that goes out and destroys our forests!”—great quote—or how about “you’re filling the air with smoke from mills and slash fires, and you’re not even content with that, you have to ruin all the salmon streams too!” Now there’s a couple of comments that should make everyone working in this forest industry feel glad he’s alive. But let me tell you brothers and sisters, that is a situation that prevails, as Mr. James Durante would say. There are people that talk like that today, a lot of people, people who should be paid attention to.
....Like school children, now who really cares about what children say? After all they don’t have the vote, and anyway they most probably heard it from some poorly informed school teacher or even a misguided parent. But wait now, school teachers and parents are adults, and they have the vote. Leaping Lizards, why should these kind of people call us destroyers of forests and killers of innocent fish?
....Take stock brothers and sisters of the great mighty forest industry, there’s someone not in love with you. You know you might get a hang up or a trauma, or you might get overly defensive in your irritation over the realization that there is no love affair with you and some school teachers, parents—eg. public—(Public!)
....Public! You mean that the public doesn’t understand us. That B.C. depends on its forest industry for fifty cents out of every dollar, that the forest industry builds roads that tourists can use, that it gives jobs to tens of thousands of people. So well so what, these certain school teachers, certain parents, certain store clerks, certain postmen etc. still say, “But why do you do like you do?” And the more you think about it, just why do we do like we do? Maybe because that is the way we have been doing it for so long it’s become a habit. And every parent knows, good or bad habits are hard to break.
....It’s a subject that is easy to write about, but difficult to translate into facts and proof. That subject being the Selling of a Forest, the forest around us in Canada. But I am convinced of one simple fact, we have entered a new era that is going to affect all of us in this forest industry. By all of us I mean boards of directors, woods foremen, labor leaders, foresters, pulp mill superintendents, logging contractors, et al. That new era cannot now be diverted or pushed aside, for there are just too many factors involved in its making. The key to the era is change.
....What changes! Don’t you realize that B.C. depends on her forest industry! Why if the government, or the unions, or the public, or (Heaven forbid) those Attila like environmentalists want all those changes—they’d better take care. This industry has got her problems and we are trying our hardest to solve those problems. We are working on the pollution problem. We are working on the multiple-use problem. We are trying to be careful of
salmon streams. But we have got to use economic sense about all these things. We have our shareholders to consider. We just can’t close a mill down and lay people off work because there is a pollution problem with that mill. We need time!
....Well fellow forest people, you will be given time, but not as much as you would like to have. You are under pressure and that pressure will mount. It is the same sort of pressure, for change, that is taking place in all parts of the world today. It is not just pointed at the forest industry of B.C. It takes on campus rebellion in the country that has built the greatest educational system the world has ever known. It takes on black rebellion by a people that know their status is not the same as the whites. It takes on establishment rebellion by young people, in many countries, who simply do not want to follow in their father’s or forefather’s traditions. And worst of all, it takes on war that is complex and difficult for we laymen to understand. We are in a revolution not just a change, and revolutions are real and they hurt and they sometimes throw common sense and economic necessity away.
....I would like to quote to you the end of a very fine talk entitled “The Changing Environment—given by Dr. J.F.A. de Soet, the general manager of K.L.M. Dutch Airlines to a group in Holland a year ago.
....“These things we know about the future:
........It will not be like the past,
........It will not be what we think it will be like.
....The rate of change will again be faster tomorrow, than it is already today.”
....“The main features of the 70’s will be change and obsolescence. Obsolescence is organization, in equipment, and worst of all, in people. Companies are people. Most companies are alike, only people make them different. The most important assets of any organization are the people comprising it, for upon people depends the effectiveness of the use of all the other costly assets, buildings, machines, money, materials and techniques.
....“With a lot of negligent employees you don’t need competitors.”
....“Technology will not only produce information or products. It will take over decision making. An increasing number of decisions shall not be based anymore on extrapolation or earlier experiences, as was the case up until now! More and more decisions will concern problems that are unknown so far, or totally new! Right at the center will stay the role of the entrepreneur, who with the help of all the know how, knowledge and specialists, will have to continue to take the ultimate risk and responsibility. Those who find themselves uncomfortable around accelerated change, brand new life styles, battered beliefs, and scattered standards “
I find too many “uncomfortable” people in responsible positions, in this industry today, hiding themselves in defensive arena, from where they yell out such progressive laments as—“it’s the environmentalists’ fault.” “It’s the unions’ fault,”
British Columbia Lumberman, March, 1973
“It’s our young peoples’ fault, they won’t
work.” It seems it’s everyone’s fault but thine
and mine! Now chaps I say!
Keep out of the bight,