A candlelight vigil in Ottawa's Beaver Pond forest on Jan. 1 marked the start of the United Nations International Year of the Forest -- and the last time people may be able to gather in its lush greenery before it's clear-cut.
Cutting down trees to make way for residential subdivisions is nothing new in Canadian cities. Private developers clear land to build homes, sometimes over residents' objections. Most cities have processes by which citizens can voice their concerns, but these often find in favour of landowners despite local, provincial, national and international statements made about protecting the natural environment.
Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.
Like you, I'm trying to figure out what we've got after the big forest conflagration as pulp mills go down at enormous public cost, ending with the province buying the Bowater lands in western Nova Scotia for some $118 million. Is it new hope or something else?
But before I get to that, let me fume a bit about the forest policy of the last 50 years by evoking a couple of low points that still niggle at me.
Sometimes it's good to be cautious--and other times it's better to go with your gut. People told us not to visit Madagascar, that political conflict made the country unsafe for tourists. But we decided to go anyway because if we had listened to those voices, we'd never have gone to Nairobi, Kampala, or Kigali. We are cautious when we travel, but aware that our best and most eye-opening experiences are places well off the beaten path. And, Anantanrivo, Madagascar's capital city, is a place we fell in love with. The narrow streets, alleyways, cobblestone roads, and historic buildings remind you, at times, of parts of Western Europe.
A 60-megawatt forest-burning power plant at the NewPage pulp mill at Port Hawkesbury, recently given the go-ahead by Premier Darrell Dexter, has raised the ire of environmentalists, notably those within the NDP itself, and put new fuel on the fire.
But what's the view in the woods? Kingsley Brown of the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association -- a group that has had a contract with with NewPage and its predecessor for some 30 years, which Brown calls unique in the world and which gives woodlot owners a higher return than others in the province -- makes the argument for the plant.