BC's War Zones

War In the Forests

A recent article in the Prince George Daily News entitled “Death from the sky in Northern BC” included pictures of a wetland, green and abundant with plants, insects, amphibians, birds and mammals and “the same wetland gripped by a grey death after being sprayed from helicopters with the herbicide glyphosate.”

Those images were from a recent meeting at UNBC entitled “Starving moose, burning forests and contaminated blueberries: a case for broadleaves and a new paradigm in Central British Columbia”. Glyphosate is sprayed on 10,000 to 20,000 hectares of forests yearly resulting in over 1.3 million hectares having been affected since 1980.

The ramifications are enormous. Broadleaf trees known to be natural fire breaks are being eradicated which exacerbates wild fires. Not only is their water content far greater than that of the pines and spruces that are immune to glyphosate but they also help mitigate climate change since they sequester far more carbon than spruce and pines.

And since glyphosate has been deemed a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization, one can only imagine the impact that helicopter spraying has on animals who somehow manage not to starve, including aquatic life as tons of the stuff end up in streams, rivers and lakes.

As BC's forests get poisoned leaving plantations in their place, more and more logging roads carve the area affording good visibility for government sponsored helicopter killing of wolves and other unwanted animals. This is done under the guise of protecting the now almost extinct caribou after destroying its habitat.

War In Rural Areas

In rural areas and on the edges of towns, the war against nature is also going on full force. Fields that were buzzing with insects and alive with birds, mice and small mammals are now dead zones where only the wind can stir their monoculture crop.

Yet we're being warned. The journal “The Guardian” ran an article last fall entitled “A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans. It's a catastrophe” with graphs showing that insect abundance has fallen by 75% over the last 27years. In another article by George Monbiot entitled: “Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climatebreakdown” it referenced a study in Nature Plants revealing that most farms would increase production by cutting pesticides since it would increase pollination.

Back in BC rather than heed the warnings, corporations and governments are now aiming to cover the Okanagan with a type of cherry production that highly depends on chemicals and technology, creating large war zones wherever they exist.

Although climate change is promoted as being the reason why these cherries can now be grown in areas previously deemed unsuitable, it is the combination of enormous quantities of chemicals and war like technology that really makes it possible. When herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and larvicides prove insufficient, helicopters, fans, turbines, cannons and guns get rid of anything naive enough to enter the war zone.

As cherries are shipped to China, BC is left with the pits. As Monbiot says in his article:

“Farmers and governments have been comprehensively conned by the global pesticide industry.”

Can We Stop the War?

Residents of Lavington have been trying. They've filed complaints under the "Right to Farm" Act, about the noise generated from frost fans, turbo sprayers and helicopters used at cherry orchards nearby.

Despite incontrovertible proof of disturbances, the conclusion was that anyone living in the ALR should expect noise, dust, odours, that the right to Farm Act allows continuation of normal practices despite complaints and that the practices used were “normal”. When government considers the use of chemicals and technology that contribute substantially to the destruction of the biosphere as “normal” it might be time to fight back.

Join the War and Win?

It may be that courage, crowd funding and tenacity can win this war. A small municipality of 157 people in Quebec did just that. The town of Ristigouche Sud-Est was facing a $1 million lawsuit from an oil and gas exploration company for trying to protect its own water after passing a bylaw that set clear rules including banning the introduction of any chemical substances in the soil.

Of course the company sued. Then the town needed to raise money to cover its legal fees so they did a crowd funding campaign that brought in $330,000. Then they went to court and WON!

Municipal elections are coming up in the fall. If BC had more leaders with the courage to fight for their convictions we could perhaps pass bylaws that forbid the introduction of harmful chemical in the soil, air and water thus halting the destruction. Time for courageous men and women to come forth!