200+ Dignitaries Call for Immediate Protection of British Columbia’s Large Old Growth Forests

Indigenous Leaders, Scientists, Business Execs, Artists, Athletes, Politicians Send Joint Message to BC Premier

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2021, Vancouver – Today, more than 200 prominent people, acclaimed in their respective fields, have issued an open letter to the Premier of British Columbia calling for the immediate protection of BC’s irreplaceable old growth forests. The signatories range from a former Prime Minister, former Environment Ministers, former NASA scientists, Indigenous leaders, Oscar, Grammy, and Juno award winners, Olympic gold medalists, and even a Star Trek Captain.

Specific signatories include former NASA scientist James Hansen, actors Dame Judi Dench and Joaquin Phoenix, author Joy Kogawa, ethologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall, Catherine McKenna, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and the Hon. Brian Mulroney among many, many others. The letter builds upon a similar initiative launched by environmental non-profit Canopy this past June, when they published a similar letter to the province featuring 100 signatories. Response to that publication was so positive that today’s letter has more than double the number of highly accomplished opinion leaders urging the Province of British Columbia to protect iconic old growth forests.  

“I remember the first time I saw the towering old-growth forests in British Columbia. I remember the sense of awe I felt standing next to them. There are some wonders we can never replace. We must stop the logging of old growth,” said actor William Shatner. “Premier Horgan, these forests should live long and prosper.”

“The forests of British Columbia are not only majestic links to the past, they are homes to endemic species and many people. It is increasingly urgent that we raise our voices on behalf of the world’s forests, not only because of the many benefits they offer, but as part of our legacy to our children and theirs. Every ancient tree felled, every species that becomes extinct, represents another threat to the future of our planet,” said Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute, and a UN Messenger of Peace.

Only a fragment of large old growth forests remain in British Columbia. Despite deferrals in a few relatively small areas announced in September 2020 and July 2021, these integral forests continue to be logged across the province, prompting large-scale outcry and the arrest of more than 1,000 individuals.  

​​“Elder trees are vital for ensuring the health and survival of forests. Only when old growth thrives can we have forests that are not only capable of sustaining the cultural needs and livelihood of Indigenous peoples but are more resilient to wildfires and climate change as well,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The Premier has said the old growth situation is a crisis — now he needs to treat it like one by immediately protecting these forests once and for all. Inaction and half-hearted measures can no longer be afforded as our forests continue to bear the brunt of devastating climate change impacts.”

“This incredibly accomplished community knows what it takes to forge new pathways and that’s exactly what BC needs. Changing BC’s outdated forestry system is imperative so we can protect the irreplaceable, help stabilize the world’s climate, and build a just and vibrant future for the province,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “The entreaty from these luminaries to protect the iconic old growth forests of British Columbia underscores the breadth of support for conservation and how important it is for planetary health.”

The open letter was sent directly to Premier John Horgan and will also run as a dual-page ad in the Globe and Mail. The letter reads:

British Columbia used to be the land of giants with trees up and down the coast towering 250 feet tall. 
Today, only a fraction of these vital, old growth forests remain. They are our shield against the climate crisis yet are being logged across the province.
For thousands of years, these forests have protected us. Now, we need to protect them. 
Premier Horgan, protect the irreplaceable.

See full list of signatories to the letter here.

Laura Repas, Canopy
+1 416-729-7484

Canopy is a solutions-driven not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate. Canopy has worked with over 750 companies to guide them to more sustainable practices and to save the world’s integral forests. Canopy’s partners include H&M, LVMH, Target, Amazon, Penguin Random House, Zara, TC Transcontinental, and Uniqlo. www.canopyplanet.org