Letters to the Editor

We have lost our freedom in the forests

These days, talking about local control of resources is considered eco-terrorism, so it was with considerable fascination that I watched the potash debate in Saskatchewan. Potash with reserves that will last hundreds of years, who should own it? How should it be managed?  

We here in the Kootenays, in the headwaters of the Columbia River, have a resource that will last 1,000 years and more and deserves much more attention than it gets. I am talking about the inland temperate rainforest that surrounds us. Controlled by corporations and ruled by laws from afar, this totally dynamic resource is mismanaged. Natural law is circumvented and man-made law such as NAFTA, the softwood lumber agreement, provincial money requirements by way of stumpage and royalties, corporate bottom line requirements, and new trade proposals such as the Canadian-European Economic Trade Agreement determine how our trees fall.

We have lost our freedom to be connected to all that surrounds us, and those that control our forests with man-made laws from thousands of miles away are wrong. 

The corporation is the wrong vehicle for the management of our forest. Multi-national trade agreements that totally ignore natural law and turn our forests into plantations are wrong. We are the people of the headwaters of the Columbia River. We are the Sinixt and Ktunaxa of today. 

Perhaps it is time to join the tribe. May the will of Great Spirit be done with the headwaters of the Columbia River, with our forests, our watersheds and our people.  

Walk like an Egyptian, think like an Indian, so that we may present this vast resource to the world in an intelligent, sustainable manner.  

Dick Murphy, Nelson


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