.... North Americans seem to
like revo-lutions and their gentler kin – protests.
From the Boston Tea Party to the Riel Rebellion, to the suffragettes
and the War of the Blue and the Gray – and on down to
many marches on Ottawa and Washington for a variety of causes.
...No, protest and revolution
new to this
continent, to the point that it
takes a pretty lively protest these days to get in print or
on the tube.
....Sometimes the revolutions
are not bloody but they force a change in the living structure
of the community or country just the same. A bayonet can be
replaced by a very sharp pencil and wreck havoc with an army
....I believe it is fair to say
that those people involved in the forest scene, in one way
or another, have been experi-encing a revolution mixed with
protests for the past few years. Possibly no blood has been
spilled but the final effect of the revolution will bring
a mighty change to the lives of all the survivors involved
in every part of the forest scene in Canada and the United
....The revolution covers many
battles. First there is the realization that we in Canada
are overcutting our forests for the amount we are replanting.
But worse, we are far behind in our whole silvicultural scene
across this land. We will certainly harm our greatest natural
resource – possibly irreversibly – if we can’t
get the generals in the capitals to really understand the
seriousness of the situation.
....It takes people to plant
trees and to tend to their silvicultural requirements. We
have the people – but instead we keep them on the dole
when they could be in our forests doing their share, as most
of them would want to do. Can we stand this mortality rate
to our forests and keep lowering the morale of so many good
Canadians who want to work?
....Look back in history and
we find the over-cutting of forests in so many coun-
Little wonder the outbursts flare up every so often.
....We have seen protests of
all descrip-tions, bordering on some bitter scenes of union
versus union, teachers closing schools and policemen and firemen
staying off the job. Some of these pro-tests border
on riots with ugly scenes
we never really
thought possible in these so-called enlightened times.
....Yes, and even the large chaps
here in B.C. got into the revolution – well, call it
a protest – when they locked out the pulp workers in
spring, 1984. I’ll bet the swords rattled in The Club
the day the locks clicked shut on that one.
....Another aspect of the revolution
in the forest scene is the rather sudden (in years’
time) expression from so many in high places in politics who
make statements about the decline in forestry as the number
one industry and the ascension of tourism as its successor.
The term sunset industry has been used, but one could pass
that off as spoken by someone who has not a glimmer of what
a forest looks like or what you can do with it.
....Now who cares about titles
– first or second – what does it matter? Not a
damn, not a pinch, nothing! Except when it comes to Coca-Cola
or Pepsi! Oh, they spend hundreds of millions to convince
you they are first. Or how about Hertz and Avis throwing their
money about for the title? Or who’s first in baseball
....We are a continent of “firsters.”
We love being first because that’s supposed to make
us best. Who ever heard of a rotten firster? So, the politicians
start thinking in terms of buttering up the tourist industry
and tell them they are going to be a firster if they work
....With an Expo coming on in
western Canada it’s not such a dumb idea to get all
the beds ready and the welcome signs out. That part of it
is well and good. The politician gives the tourist work force
a pat on the back. But I fail to see why the politician has
to do it at
forests were used for fire-wood as is the greater percentage
of forests in the world today. This wood was of course needed
down through history to keep warm and cook by. But nevertheless,
the forests were depleted, nothing was planted and the forests
....Only now when one travels
through parts of Italy or France, for example, will you see
new planted forests begin-ning to green up the country again.
But how long will it take? The lessons sit there in history
but the generals do not need the lessons.
....There is another form of
protest, nay revolution, going on in the United States that
will definitely affect our forests and the people who live
by those forests. The “free trade” issue is bandied
about these days like a shuttlecock from one politician to
....But while Canada speaks –
with a squeak – the United States Congress seems to
be saying “Let’s put up the protest signs and
keep out or cut down on all imports, including forest products
from that bunch of Royal Canadian Mountains.”
....If one ever wondered where
the good old Republican isolationists of the Second world
War went after Pearl Harbour, it’s obvious they became
democrats and took up the protest of “No Free Trade.”
....These are such touchy times.
The recession is not an easy affair to keep a cool head over
for extended periods of time. And the time
is growing long.