The old adage goes: If a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it make a sound?

If that tree is a part of Canada’s Boreal forest âe” one of the last remaining ancient forests in the world âe” its fall is heard around the world, as loud as the destruction that it causes to a delicate eco-system which is being devoured in order to produce toilet paper, junk mail and facial tissue.

That tree is a part of a greater picture. Its noble existence means clean air, fresh water, a home to wildlife such as Canadaâe(TM)s diminishing woodland caribou, as well as herbs used for medicinal purposes by Grassy Narrows First Nations people.

The falling tree not only represents irreparable damage to the earth’s environment, but also the destruction of Canadaâe(TM)s First Nations people. And that is why Grassy Narrows is fighting back.

In 2002, the Grassy Narrows community erected a blockade on a logging road on their traditional land. It has lasted five years, but the logging companies are nowhere near putting an end to the clear cutting.

Indigenous men, women and youth have been trying to put a stop to companies like Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi Mill in Fort Frances, who clear-cut more than 42 percent of Whiskey Jack’s endangered forest. Abitibi sells this precious wood to Boise’s Mill in International Falls Minnesota, eventually ending up on shelves across the country including at your local Grand & Toy store.

While consumers unthinkingly purchase paper products from Grand & Toy, Grassy Narrows is left despoiled by Canadian businesses. The list of damages reads like a horror story, from mercury contaminated lakes and fish, to the depletion of their food âe” animals and vegetation, and particularly berries and herbs used for healing and rituals. The harm is seen most acutely in the impact on the traditions of this First Nations people, who have lost their language, spirituality and culture.

But they have not lost their determination. Last year Grassy Narrows declared a moratorium on further industrial logging activity. The provincial government represented by Hon. Frank Iacabucci has held meetings with band Chief Simon Fobister, but little has been done to deter companies like Abitibi from continuing on their path of destruction. The government, however, still expects the people of Grassy Narrows to take these talks seriously.

Grassy Narrows and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have called for an international Day of Action. Today, people across North America, along with supporting organizations such as Journalists for Human Rights âe” Ryerson Chapter, and The Christian Peacemakers Team, will stand in solidarity with Grassy Narrows. Carmelle Wolfson, a fourth year journalism student at Ryerson and an organizer of the event, says they will ask Grand & Toy to publicly support the moratorium on logging on traditional land.

The event kicks off at Toronto’s City Hall at 2 p.m. From there groups will target specific Grand & Toy locations across the GTA. RAN Old Growth campaigner Annie Sartor says there are upwards of 34 actions taking place across the continent with three groups holding events in the Toronto region.

There will be a range of activities taking place including protests outside Grand & Toy stores and hand delivering of letters to store managers. Those not taking part in the Day of Action can support the cause by sending a letter to managers at Grand & Toy or Office Max in the U.S. A sample letter is available on RANâe(TM)s website.

Wolfson explains her groups motivations for today’s day of action: “This is not just a native rights issue. This is not just an environmental issue. This is also a health issue that affects each and every one of us. If we get rid of Canada’s Boreal forest there won’t be anything left to filter out the air we breathe in.”