Ep. 9: Fighting for Clayoquot Sound & Vancouver Island's Last Great Forests
the Built Environment · 57 minutes ·

Ep. 9: Fighting for Clayoquot Sound & Vancouver Island's Last Great Forests

Welcome back to the Built Environment! Recently, Brenna travelled to Tofino, British Columbia, which is located on unceded Nuu-chah-nulth territory. A short water taxi ride away from the town known to many as Canada's surf capital is Clayoquot Sound, one of the world's richest and most unique ecosystems.

Today's episode features interviews with Torrance Coste, our friend from the Canadian Youth Delegation and the Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee; and Bonny Glambeck, longtime Tofino-based activist and co-founder of the organization Clayoquot Action.

[See if you can spot Torrance amongst the clear-cutting of old growth in this episode's photo. Hint: he is wearing a red jacket]

Brenna was fortunate to visit Torrance during a trail-building trip on Meares Island, where old growth cedar trees are 800 years old or more. While in Tofino, Brenna learned that while 1/3 of the trees around Clayoquot Sound are old growth cedar, they comprise 2/3 of the trees being logged. In addition to being a ecologically vital, old-growth cedar trees are central to Nuu-chah-nulth culture and life. In the mid 1980s, the Tla-o-qui-aht, supported by neighbouring Ahousat First Nation, proclaimed Meares Island a Tribal Park. They launched a court case and secured an injunction that protected much of the Island from logging company MacMillan Bloedel.

Torrance also works with the Wilderness Committee in Walbran Valley, down the coast on southwest Vancouver Island. These areas are some of the last temperate rainforests and old growth left on the Island -- and they are at high risk for further logging and other resource extraction. Moreover, BC's old growth forests are a significant carbon sink; logging creates a positive feedback loop that perpetuates and accelerates climate change.

Brenna spoke to Bonny about her beginnings in activism -- she arrived in Tofino in time for the 1993 blockades against logging that were, at the time, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Bonny also describes Clayoquot Action's campaigns against open-net salmon farming and prospecting by Imperial Metals, the company responsible for the Mount Polley mine disaster [On August 4, 2014, a tailings pond burst, releasing 4.5 million cubic metres of toxic slurry into Polley Lake, which eventually feeds into the Fraser River.]

[CORRECTION, Friday, August 5: Torrance corrected our recognition of the unceded territories on which we conducted our interview in Victoria -- contrary to the recognition in this episode, we in fact recorded Brenna and Torrance's conversation on Lekwungen territories.]

More information on the topics in today's episode can be found at the following links:


Map of Clayoquot Sound: http://bit.ly/2ap4pZR

Vancouver Island's Last Stand by the Wilderness Committee: http://bit.ly/2ao0IAr

Information on Walbran Valley by the Wilderness Committee: http://bit.ly/2aeOhY3

Ending Open-Net Salmon Farming Is The Only Way Forward by Dan Lewis, co-founder of Clayoquot Action: http://huff.to/1M3e1Tn

BC government approves return to full production for mine at Mount Polley: http://bit.ly/2asrCIp

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