MOOSE COUNTRY BLOCKADES UPDATE and FUNDRAISER – December 28th, 2020
Happy Holidays to all! I wish we had better news for the forests and the mainland moose but so far our government has remained completely unresponsive to unprecedented pressure from the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia; citizens deluging the minister of Lands and Forestry with letters, emails, phone calls; 31,000 signatures on Nature Nova Scotia’s petition; Forest protectors camped out for eight full weeks on logging roads; supporters occupying the Halifax office of the Department of Lands and Forestry. Two people were arrested there. In Digby County nine of us chose to get arrested rather than lift our blockade voluntarily. This was not a step any of us took lightly. But there are times civil disobedience is necessary. This is one of those times.
Our government has done a good job with COVID, and for that we are grateful. But COVID should not be used as an excuse to avoid democratic scrutiny. Every other province managed to hold virtual legislative sessions, but not ours. COVID is not the only emergency we are facing. UN scientists are clear that biodiversity loss is at a critical juncture. So is the need to address climate change. Watching our government license the destruction of mainland moose habitat on public land is maddening. These animals are facing extinction. And the habitat that is being destroyed is the habitat we all need to protect and restore, not just for the moose but for ourselves. While the government stalls on forestry reform and refuses to respond to our protests, the forestry industry is engaged in a clearcutting frenzy.
Once forests are flattened it takes 50 to 100 years get back to the same level of carbon storage and far, far longer to restore the complex ecosystem of a healthy forest. If that is even possible, as storms and drought and fires bear down on our lands with ever increasing intensity.
Never have Extinction Rebellion’s simple demands seemed more to the point. Tell the Truth about the crises we face. Act Now. Involve Citizens. In the coming year we will all have to step up and require that our government change course. Already an unprecedented coalition of groups has come together, pushing for a moratorium on clearcutting on on Crown lands until Lahey’s recommendations are fully implemented. The people who were arrested are as committed as ever to protecting the moose and the forests. While some of us may be in court rooms rather than on the logging roads, we will still be shining a light on our government’s all too cosy relationship with industrial forestry.
Giving up is not an option so we are going to have to get creative. Consider Jacob Fillmore. He came and camped with us for two weeks, maintaining the Rocky Point Lake blockade. Now he is camped out on Grande Parade. His demand? Stop Ecocide. Please support him. Even better, please follow his example. Come up with your own ways to act. Better yet, work together. Not everyone can camp out in the woods or risk arrests but we can all do something.
One thing I know from those weeks on the logging roads. It feels far, far better to act than to sit at home wringing my hands.
A big thank you to everyone who offered support in so many ways. Your donations helped keep the show on the road. Now we need your help again, for legal costs this time. We will be keeping these funds separate from those we raised earlier. Below is our fundraising request. Please feel free to cut and paste and share it with friends and sympathisers.
Here’s hoping for progress in 2021.
HELP WITH LEGAL COSTS NEEDED FOR FOREST PROTECTORS
On December 11th, Forest Protectors safeguarding mainland moose habitat in Digby County were served an injunction. This injunction bars the Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia Association and John and Jane Doe from blocking any logging roads anywhere WestFor has been licensed to harvest on crown land. It bars anyone however vaguely associated with the blockades from encouraging anyone who might encourage anyone to blockade these roads, or indeed ‘Any and all roads, trails and/or access points whatsoever to the Rocky Point Lake Sites, Napier Lake Sites and/or the Authorized Sites.” Since WestFor, a consortium of 13 mills, has been authorized by the province to manage the harvesting of all forests on crown land in South West Nova Scotia, this injunction represents an extraordinary assault on the rights of Nova Scotians. You would think forestry companies, not Nova Scotia taxpayers, had bought these lands from Bowater Mersey. WestFor will seek to extend this interim injunction on January 26th and 27th at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
On December 15th, RCMP arrested nine people who refused to remove the blockades protecting mainland moose habitat from government authorized clearcutting. These nine were charged with criminal contempt of court and will be tried in Digby Provincial Court on March 15th. Meanwhile, on May 29th, 2020, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that “the Minister (of Lands and Forestry) has exhibited a chronic and systemic failure to implement action under the ESA (Endangered Species Act)”. Why is it that citizens will be tried for contempt of court and not the Minister?
This wildly overreaching injunction will be challenged in court in January. In March all nine defendants will be before a judge in a trial that will shine a light on this province’s shameful failure to protect endangered species and the forests they need. Ecojustice, a national organisation, and Jamie Simpson of Juniper Law will be working together. Ecojustice is a charity, Jamie is not. Our goal is to raise $5000 to cover our legal costs. Any money left over will be donated to Ecojustice.