Kootenay Water Is Life

          We should all have the right to clean, safe, natural drinking water. Here in the Kootenays  our basic human rights are being violated as our  watersheds are being destroyed due to industrial activity such as volume based logging for the sake of profit. Our ecosystem is on the verge of collapse as a result. Many of our communities are small rural communities so our concerns are not be being heard fast enough and our local MLA has abandoned her people.    
        Therefore, I strongly feel it is my moral duty and civil right to stand up to protect the peoples rights to clean water and to bring about the change we need on the government level. My actions have created media attention, which increases awareness and further pressures out government to change the legislation. As well I have planned two Water Is Life events to unite the communities. These two event resulted in over 1000 signed letters to be submitted to the government to change the legislation to protect our watersheds.
Here is the online petition created: https://www.ecocampaign.ca/petitions/last-call-to-save-kootenay-watersheds-from-logging?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1543535020&fbclid=IwAR2xz9Lilk9pX7XiVmci6mYnqMOMsffcWFR7WqJlyFS3_zbzmHNkSevBHm0
Here is a recording of the Water Is Life Event which received over 3500 view on Youtube YOUTUBE CHANNEL ALSO BEING UPDATED & WEBSITE UNDERWAY:)      
        I am 100% committed to continuing set up informative protest camps to engage the communities while we actively work towards the change we need to save our waters for our communities. The biggest challenge is however, funding to keep the movement going. I am not an organization so do not qualify for funding and if  I formed an organization I would not be allowed to protest.     
          Therefore, to continue our efforts to protect our watersheds, I will be relying on the generous donations and fundraising ideas from the communities. My protest camps are an opportunity for local residents to gain knowledge in order to make informed decisions on their choices of action. I don not believe in violence as the way but rather empowering and uniting the people towards positive change.
            Donations will go towards:
-Supplies to run on site educational workshops on importance of watersheds, industry dynamics an civil rights -Communication devices such as an InReach GPS device for emergency navigation.
-Recording devices to document for media and documentary in the making.
- Power supplies such as inverters to power onsite devices as there is not power on protest sites.
-Wall tent for a portable, warm space to gather, camp and run the onsite information protest camp.
-Cover expenses of printing/copying/faxing of document, petitions, and letters to submit to government.
- Travel expenses to go to the various communities and investigate their watershed concerns. -Proper radios for safety to communicate on the Forest Service Logging Roads.
-First Aid equiptment and general supplies to run the protest camps. -Expenses to set up and maintain a website to unite all our efforts.
-Cost of community hall rentals for events.
-Legal expenses in the event an injunction is taken against me while defending a community watershed. I am non violent and unarmed. Non of my actions are illegal and I am familiar with the injunction process.    I have set up this GoFundMe on behalf of efforts to save our Kootenay watersheds and not by any means for my own personal gain.

         There is a long struggle ahead and the urgency is real as majority of our watersheds hear are all slated to be logged by spring of 2019. I will continue through the winter and until legislation is changed.    Please help us save our waters and last of our inland temperate forests, our lives here rely on it. Our greatest wish is to save it for the future of our children and mother nature. Our life depends on it.   Here are some specific details on our current situation her in the Kootenays and all of British Columbia. We must have the foresight of what could happen based on history of what has happened the drinking water in other parts of world. We still have a chance to save it here.                 
       Most Canadian raw lumber is sent abroad to be developed (much of it into cheap furniture) instead of being used in Canada to create jobs here. Lumber companies feel the pressure and are increasing the volume at which they are working – workers are getting exhausted.
     Timber prices are very high right now.
• Allowable Annual Cuts (AAC) are based on timber supply from a decade ago (e.g. don’t take into account losses from forest fires) – volume being logged now doesn’t take into consideration current conditions. Timber companies are fined if they don’t meet those allowable cuts.
• AAC legislation should be changed to accurately reflect the current state of our forests.
• 50% or more raw lumber goes over the border – not to local mills. Local job losses are significant. Changes to forestry practices will create more jobs and open local mills.
• Feller buncher machines do the job of 12 crew members which mean further job losses. One operator can remotely manage 3 feller buncher machines at once – even on very steep slopes.
• They are only replanting cash crop trees – diminishing bio diversity. Caribou are becoming extinct.
• Proposed logging plans of the top 4 Kootenay license holders mean that Kootenay watersheds will be logged out by mid-2019.
• Landslides, floods, and fires are increasing – industry says its naturally occurring. So they have green lights to go ahead and log it out because they don’t have to be held accountable. But the environment in the Kootenays is about to collapse. There is not time to wait and address it next year – proposed plans will start in the spring. Get engaged in your watersheds now. In Slocan City the watershed is almost completely logged out and the people there had no idea it had happened. They thought their watershed was protected and that someone was managing it.
• Activists have been saying these things since the 80s – the government divides and conquers (successfully), the government wears us down. Activists are not professionals and don’t get paid. Forestry experts have proved that forestry science is tobacco science, but the government goes ahead with business as usual and nothing changes. Resistance gets fractured. Recommendations from committees get shelved.
• There used to be visual corridors – highways were protected from logging which protected watersheds. This was scrapped by NDP. Keep spreading the word – talk to your neighbors and we will prevail but we have to expose the techniques they are using and stand together. The government wastes years with planning tables and tries to wear the people down. At these tables the government staff are paid, the industry people are paid, but activists are volunteers. This is how the government tries to wear people down. The government sits and listens to data, maps, charts but then they only do what they are legislated to do anyways.
• Watersheds are not legislated for protection. Therefore the government goes ahead and logs watersheds. People are encouraged to work to get their watersheds legislated to be protected by getting them deemed parks, eco-reserves, and conservancies. This is the only way to protect them.
• We must demand that no logging is done in domestic use watersheds . This should be our united message – no matter which watershed we are a part of.
• None of the political parties that have been in power have done anything to protect our watersheds. We are encouraged to make videos on social media talking about what our watersheds mean to us. To share, share, and share these videos so that the message becomes viral. When the message is strong across the internet plus the government officials are receiving letters and petitions from us, the elected officials who are working to save the watersheds become stronger.
• When you see timber company employees interfering with the environment, for example going across and damaging creeks, you can call RAPP (Report a Poacher and Polluter). If your water supply is muddy due to forestry, that is a cause to call RAPP. When you make a report to RAPP they have to investigate immediately.
  Forestry has been allowing permits into areas with fish bearing creeks. Its important to look at who is running our country and our forests right now. The public isn’t saying very much in the Kootenays and across BC.
   We must speak up now. Watersheds are under threat. We have an opportunity to do something NOW. We won’t have that opportunity in 6 months. Watersheds are being stripped clean – with no requirements to replant or clean up. This is what we are faced with.
  We are all living in some very challenging times near the tipping point of climate change, increased floods, forest fires, decreased water supplies, declining wildlife and fish populations. From a global standpoint, it may seem we here in the Kootenays have not reached that critical point, which is all the more reason we must have the foresight to see it coming and make the necessary changes to protect and preserve this incredible place we call home.
     We all have an important role in being part of making this happen. There are many organizations working towards this change. We the citizens can pressure the governments through way of voting to demand the change we need to see before our ecosystem completely collapse.
       However, lets face it, as we’ve seen time and again, these changes do not take place quick enough to match the rate at which we are losing our environment due to industrial activity such as volume-based logging, fracking, and the pipelines. These industries are not taking into consideration the cumulative effects of the multiple timber licensee holders in the Kootenays combined with the losses due to record high forest fires we’ve been experiencing. Timber Supply Assessment’s have not been conducted in our area for over a decade and is just now under way to determine the Annual Allowable Cuts that the timber licensee holders can cut for next year.                                
          So, what is the urgency?     Well the logging companies here in the Kootenays are currently logging at a capacity of a timber supply based on a decade ago. Furthermore, if they do not cut the Annual Allowable Cut they receive fines for not doing so. On top of this injustice to our ecosystem, a large percentage of our local raw timber is being hauled directly to over the border mills and sold to foreign markets. Aside from this costing our watersheds, this is resulted in the shutdown of many of our local mills which once supported our small communities.
      Now, with the use of feller bunchers, which can do the work of several crew members, our locals are losing employment opportunities. Those that can continue to operate are forced to incur further operating costs by having to travel further for work to keep up because of the cut plans in concentrated areas, wiping out valleys and then moving on to the next. This is by no means sustainable logging practices anymore in this day in age.
     The Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association was quoted saying, “we’ve logged out the back country, so now we are in the front country”, so it has become very evident that we are losing all our watersheds and the last of our remaining climate stabilizing inland temperate forest that govern our climate and maintain the temperatures of our waters to allow our fish to spawn. This is currently happening in areas such as Grey Horse Ridge, Glacier Creek, Duncan River, Trout Lake and beyond. This will result in environmental collapse. We must change the legislation to protect the Kootenays and all of BC.  Prepare and protect, not repair and repent.
     Therefore, we have chosen our role to continue to be out in these areas, engaging communities, studying proposed logging, monitoring these areas and reporting back to increase awareness and get the truth out, for many of these areas are isolated and no one is keeping an eye on these self-governing bodies that hire their own to do pre-logging environmental studies. When we find areas under immediate threat, where environmental violations are being done, threatened species at risk, and basic human rights to safe watersheds are being violated, we boldly go in, get the word out, protest and blockade if need be. This is our civil right to do so. Conservation officers and environmental groups can’t be every where at all times and the industry counts on this along with the trust, we have put in the governments, to protect us. But the current legislation des not.
     Our intent is not to put people out of work, but rather slow down the rate at which our Kootenay ecosystem is being destroyed due to the volume based Annual Allowable Cuts in order to buy time for the organizations to force the governments to make the necessary change to save our lands and waters for all of our future.
     The harsh truth is, while we are all working towards this change within our communities and with our local governments, the machines are still cutting full speed ahead as we speak and it appears, based on the proposed logging plans of the top licensee holders in the area, we are about to lose 100% of our Kootenay watersheds due to industrial volume-based logging by June 2019. So you see, our environment literally does not have the time to wait. 

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  • Peter Stalder 
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    • 4 mos
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  • Liszka Hanning 
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Organizer

Jessica Dawn Ogden 
Organizer
Nelson, BC
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