To heck
high tech

....Well the heading tells it all – but I suppose I’m being a bit dramatic in such a title. However, friends, it’s a free country and it’s good for a young chap to get something off his chest once in a while.

....What brought me to this emotional pitch over this star wars industry was a lengthy TV news program the other eve
ning that made its point by stating that the ‘High Tech’ industry in B.C. will rank number one in our province by 1990!
....The announcer went on to state that several firms were now turning tidy pro-fits with contracts for various ‘chip products’ in the new high tech field. Well and good – and bully for them – particularly in these tough recession times.
....It was also noted by some rather strange scale of figures that ‘ the high tech industry has moved into the top five industries in British Columbia.” Yes, in spite of the heavy blows the forest industry has taken in the past few years they are still allowing us first place, but only until 1990! Ah, they know, these wise TV newsmen. Or do they?
....Do they really know the depth and extent of this forest industry in B.C., or for that matter in the whole of Canada? Or do they get tired of hearing the old cliché that half of every dollar is gen-erated by the forests of B.C.? I think they do. And I think a great many medias folks, in their desire to find something new to write or talk about, simply find the forest industry boring and therefore search for new grist for their mills.
....I’m annoyed when I hear the misrep-resentation of this industry in news reports because like so many other B.C. people, my bread and butter has come from these trees and I want the record to be straight. Certainly the unconcerned  ( by  far  the  majority )
....The talented people exist in the industry if they were let loose to create a program. And the joint financing would pay off in a press that would respond to newsworthy programs that the public would want to read about
and view.
....Go back to the beginning where the TV newsman claimed high tech would be numero uno by 1990. I have not heard of anybody responding to that statement, possibly because it’s such a pile of hogwash. But that news pro-gram goes out to thousands of city dwellers’ homes each evening. And can’t you just hear the hubby yelling to his wife in the kitchen, “Hey, Gladys, ya better sell those 10 shares of Con-solidated Spruce, the forest boys are going under to some new high tech stuff.”
....Sounds foolish, sure. The whole thing sounds foolish. But, who’s to tell the cement dwellers differently?
....When the high tech industry – or any other industry – builds towns like Prince George, Alberni, Port McNeill, Quesnel, gold River, Terrace, Mack-enzie and Houston etc. then they can talk about a new number one.
....These towns are forestry. The tradespeople in them cater to forestry and if their surrounding areas were bald headed prairie where trees now grow, they would owe their living to wheat, sand, or the suntan oil industry.
....When the high tech industry can utilize office towers and facilities in downtown Vancouver to the same ex-tent as the forest industry, then they can hang their number one shingle out to display.
....I would remind you – and we should remind the media more often – that this beautiful city houses every major forest firm, various offices of the International Woodworkers of America and other forest related unions.
....Warehouses, booming grounds, tug
by: Bill Moore
couldn’t give a hoot who is first or twentieth as long as they get their three squares a day.
....No, the problem is not the media people, the problem is thee and me. We don’t give this industry a newsworthy enough slant. We don’t paint the picture to the press of “be a friend to a tree” or “my tree tis of thee.” There’s got to be more imagination and appeal.
....Now I don’t mean that you should take out your trusty chain saw and rush into their editorial offices and news-rooms and proceed to buck up their furniture for firewood. That will get you headlines, but it will also put you in the looney bin. You must be more gentle and all encompassing in your approach.
....I would point out the State of Oregon as a good example of a concer-ted effort on the part of many to be known as the Environmental State or the Clean State. Here, an entire cross section of government, industry, asso-ciations, groups and just folks banded together and made their program happen. And they keep it up. We need that style of appeal to our citizens. It’s not good enough that there be a push by one forestry group to have a For-estry Week or from a government office that declares April 1st as Hemlock Day. The pressure of the public relationship has got to be well planned and coord-inated with all interested groups. It must also be executed at a steady pace all year long.
...We don’t have a coordinated body in this province now that is capable of lay-ing it on in this manner, but it would not take too much effort to get it started.
24    ·    BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN               MARCH 1985

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and barge firms, sawmills, retail lumber firms and such all pay taxes, payrolls and dues in this city. Big Yellow Traktor firms and all forms of forest machinery firms take up acres of land in the city and pay their dues for it.
....There are produce and food packing firms that feed the thousands of forest related people all over this province. And there are even newsboys earning dolars who deliver the very same, made in B.C. newsprint – that sometimes for-get the depth of this forest industry, too.
....Why not gather together the very best “media understanding” people [I didn’t say public relations, necessarily] from all walks of this forest business. Management, union, forest service and related machinery and other related enterprises. Let these people form a public relations policy that they can live with and set them to work showing off not just thec forest industry, but our forests.
....This would not just be a management group. We have lots of those right now
in various companies and associations. Most of them are ineffective as can be seen by the results our industry gets from the media. What we need is a cross-section of the best men and women to work together to get real stories across.
....Say, they could sure work well out of a new Forest Centre now, couldn’t they? But then that’s another story.
....It’s been my experience over a lot of years in this forest business that we tend to pussyfoot about with our public relations programs. Most often they appear to be programs made to plug a hole in a dam instead of building proper dams in the first place. We seem to be apologizing too much and trying to appease too much, instead of getting our problems understood by the public before the fire starts.
....We need – ever increasingly – to have a well informed public if we intend to remain number one, or for that matter any number. It’s so easy sometimes for the bleeding heart causes to win over
public sympathy against a forest related problem.
....We have really never explained “slash” or “slash burning” or silviculture to the public in a manner they can understand. And until we do, every so often an issue will arise that will cost some company – or the industry – money and embarrassment.
....So I say to heck with high tech. I’m fed up with these ridiculous statements that would demean our industry. Let’s fight back.
....Brothers and sisters it’s time to march. We shall overcome! Strike up the band! Let’s beat the drum for forests. High tech may be a chippy industry, but we’re still number one and holding. Let’s hear it for trees!

Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore

34    ·      BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN                 MARCH 1985