The Fairy Creek Rebellion: Canada’s Largest Act Of Civil Disobedience?
In Canada's Fairy Creek valley on Vancouver Island, land defenders are chaining themselves into the ground to block the logging of ancient trees and protect the environment.
The Fairy Creek protest has been ongoing for over one year now and has become one of Canada’s largest acts of civil disobedience. The Fairy Creek protest began in August 2020, when Joshua Wright and a small group of land defenders created blockade camps to prevent logging. The camps have grown to hold hundreds of people who blockade logging trucks from getting through the area. Many of the protesters are members of environmental groups, including Green party MPs and MLAs. The de facto leader of the protest is Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones, who wants to see old growth trees protected in Pacheedaht territory. 23 percent of British Colombia's forested areas are old growth. Many of trees that make up old growth are as old as 1,000 years old if not older. A report on old growth in June of 2020 showed that 3 percent of the province’s old forests hold very large and old trees. These very large trees are naturally rare, old forests provide cultural, social and economic values, support world-renowned biodiversity, and store huge amounts of carbon.
More than 700 land defenders have been arrested by authorities for protecting the Fairy Creek watershed from logging by the resource company Teal Jones. The company Teal Jones plans to destroy the ancient forest and has had an injunction against the land defenders since May.
The arrests continue at #FairyCreek. This was captured on my #GoPro while I was photographing. Police then denied me access shortly after these moments. #rcmp #CivilDisobedience #OldGrowth pic.twitter.com/DKvVnLilY3— Jen Osborne (@RealJenOsborne) August 21, 2021
The RCMP has been accused of police brutality and of escalating tensions with overly aggressive arrests.
Today at #FairyCreek, a member of the ERT who clearly needs to be treated for PTSD instead of given a can of bear spray and told to use it on non-violent members of the public, sprayed me in the face for trying to document a violently executed arrest. #bcpoli#climateaction pic.twitter.com/AnZlBviB4v— Earthly Pursuits (@earthly_p) August 21, 2021
Solidarity protests have swept across the British Colombia and the goal has shifted from protecting Fairy Creek to protecting all old-growth. The leaders of the rebellion have sworn not to stand down until the provincial government commits to banning all old growth logging for good. The provincial government is led by Premier John Horgan who has backtracked on a previously declared commitment to end old-growth logging in the province.
"If the provincial government continues to knowingly put the ecological integrity and values of old forest at risk, they should at the very least be clear about their intentions and stop pretending to protect the province’s natural heritage"