Action Alert: Alberta activists declare 'State of Emergency'
Activists from Alberta's Forest Coalition and Canada's Future Forest Alliance declared a state of emergency in the province's forests April 27. The provincial Government has already turned over all of Alberta's publicly owned boreal forests to feed some of the world's largest pulp mills. Now it is extending the clearcut devastation to private lands.
"It is an absolute disgrace," said activist Colleen McCrory, "that the [Canadian] federal and provincial governments are allowing this large-scale, high-grade logging of private lands in the buffer zones surrounding the National Parks, without any thought to the loss of plant and animal species. Clearcut logging up to the border of Banff and Jasper will turn our National Parks into mere islands in a sea of extinction."
McCrory is chair of the Valhalla Society and co-founder of Canada's Future Forest Alliance, a network representing about half a million people.
The World Wildlife Fund of Canada gave Alberta's provincial government an 'F' for its environmental record. "How bad is an 'F'?" asked RAN's Boycott-Mitsubishi coordinator Michael Marx. "Well, British Columbia got an 'A-minus' despite the tragedy in Clayoquot Sound, so that gives you some idea of just how bad Alberta's policies are." Alberta's forests are under assault:
Since 1989, the province has allowed more than $5 billion construction in pulp mills without proper environmental assessment.
Alberta Pacific, Mitsubishi Corporation's mega-mill, is breaking records in pulp production, processing more than 300 truckloads of logs a day.
Papermaker Diashowa-Marubeni is suing the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon for their boycott, a clear attack on free speech and a legal strategy to begin logging Lubicon Cree territories.
Oil giant Unocal is also attacking Lubicon territorial rights, brazenly building a sour- gas plant next to a Lubicon village site.
Louisiana Pacific has taken over the Sunpine forest management area in the Rocky Mountain wilderness close to Jasper and Banff National Forests, building roads that open the wilderness to hunters seeking bighorn sheep, wolves, elk, and grizzlies.
Adding insult to injury, the Alberta government recently announced that all areas previously set aside as "special places" are now open to economic development. In other words, conservation areas and provincial parks no longer get special protection in Alberta. The entire province is clearly for sale--and not even to the highest bidders, since the province itself is underwriting several of these operations with loans and infrastructure improvements.
What you can do
July 1 is Canada Day, which celebrates the nation's founding. Act now to show the government of Alberta it can't get away with giving its citizens' forests away to huge multinational corporations.
Participate in a demonstration on RAN's International Day of Action June 29. To find the demo nearest you, check the Boycott-Mitsubishi section of RAN's World Wide Web page at:
http://www.ran.org/ran/ran_campaigns/mitsubishi/ Or, you can send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the RAN office and ask for the Boycott-Mitsubishi campaign.
Also, please send a letter to Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta.
Hon. Ralph Klein
Premier of Alberta
307 Legislature Building
T5K 2B6, CANADA
Hon. Grant Mitchell, Leader
Alberta Liberal Opposition
601 Legislature Annex
T5K 1E4, CANADA
U.S. Postage: 40c up to one ounce
Dear Mr. Klein:
I want to take the opportunity of Canada Day to urge you to reconsider the course your administration has chosen for Alberta. People outside of Canada are aware of your deplorable environmental record. No other recent North American government has given away more of its birthright so abruptly.
In the name of creating jobs, you support a mill that boasts how few people it needs to employ. Your support for industrial encroachment on the Lubicon Cree illustrates your disrespect for native cultures. Finally, your decision to open all of Alberta's "special places" to economic development makes a mockery of the designation.
Millions of birds fly from Alberta's forests, across U.S. forests, to tropical forests in Central and South America. Your actions affect us all, as well as future generations.
You have no ethical right to liquidate the peoples' forests to enrich a few. I urge you to meet with environmental groups in your province to reform forest policies immediately.
I will take every action in my power to help Alberta forest activists. If they call for a tourism boycott, I will stay away. If they ask for money, I will send it.
From Action Alert 109, June 1995
1995 Rainforest Action Network. Commercial reproduction prohibited. Students, teachers, and activists may copy articles for limited distribution.
Rainforest Action Network works to protect the Earth's rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action.