BC Premier John Horgan, a self proclaimed Star trek fan, has disappointed a high-ranking member of the federation who calls for action to protect the province’s primary forests.
Canadian actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original film. Star trek TV series, is one of the more than 200 celebrities, scientists, artists and indigenous and political leaders who have joined a campaign to pressure the NDP government to protect the iconic and irreplaceable tall trees of British Columbia.
“There is nothing like standing next to a giant ancient cedar for one to recognize how small our place in the universe really is. Some wonders are irreplaceable, ”said Shatner, in support of the open letter initiative first launched by the environmental nonprofit Canopy in June.
“Premier Horgan, these forests should live long and prosper,” Shatner said.
Horgan has publicly stated that his favorite Starfleet captain is USS Voyager’s Kathryn Janeway, but a reprimand from Captain Kirk is likely to hurt a bit for such a devoted fan of the franchise, said Torrance Coste, a Wilderness Committee activist.
“The prime minister is very direct about the fact that he’s a Trekkie,” Coste said, adding that in other circumstances, Horgan’s NDP would be eager to amplify a message to the British Columbia government of a Star trek legend.
“Horgan should listen to one of his apparent heroes and go where no prime minister has gone before,” he said.
Joking aside, campaigns involving such a large number and range of influencers are indicative of the effectiveness of harnessing “star power” to push for political change and the importance of the issue, Coste said.
Former NASA scientist James Hansen, actress Judi Dench, primatologist Jane Goodall, former federal environment minister Catherine McKenna, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip are just a few of the signatories to the open letter sent directly to Horgan urging him to protect primary forests at risk as a shield against the climate crisis.
But it’s the voters in Horgan’s backyard who are most passionate about the issue, Coste said.
“Celebrity endorsement of the protection of older people shows how widespread the popularity (of the issue) is outside of British Columbia,” he said.
“Premier Horgan, these forests should live long and prosper,” said Canadian actor Willliam Shatner, aka Star Trek Captain James Kirk, calling on the British Columbia government to stop cutting down #OldGrowth trees.
“But nowhere is support to protect old growth as widespread and important as here.”
Repeated polls indicate deep support for protections for the elderly, and virtually every environmental organization in the province has collected thousands of signatures calling for government action, Coste said.
On Wednesday, BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau filed a petition with the signatures of 52,204 BC residents collected by Stand.earth asking the government to deliver on its promises to implement deferrals in cutting down old trees.
“It has been a year and a half since the report of the strategic review panel recommended a six-month timeline to defer logging in primary forests at risk of irreversible loss of biodiversity,” Furstenau said in a statement.
“In June, BC’s NDP promised there would be more postponements, but we haven’t seen them yet.”
The logging of ancient trees continued apace, Furstenau said, noting that many indigenous communities have called for logging postponements on their territories and financial support as they move towards sustainable economic models in light of the climate crisis.
“Despite BC NDP’s great statements on reconciliation and protecting older people, only a handful of postponements have been granted,” he said.
British Columbia residents suffered severe impacts and losses as climate change claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed homes during the heat dome and wildfires this summer, he said, adding that saving primary forests is a key component of climate adaptation.
What’s more, the old Fairy Creek plant blockades in southern Vancouver Island graduated over the summer to become the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history, Coste said.
Given the circumstances, it is ironic that in a short time the federal government is heading to the United Nations climate conference, COP26, to negotiate with leaders from around the world to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Coste said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government could be doing more to exert influence in the province, he added.
“Canada will go to that conference to talk about its role as a climate leader, but no climate leader continues to cut down the world’s most carbon-dense forests,” Coste said.
“I think those before and after images of some of the world’s largest trees felled under his watch do not bode well for Horgan or Trudeau heading into a world summit like COP26.”
Forests are of global importance when it comes to combating climate change, he added.
“There are no other forests like them, and they are important to everyone on the planet, from the likes of Neil Young to Captain Kirk.”
Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer