Mock forest funeral planned for Halifax

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Artwork from the Healthy Forest Coalition&#8217;s poster advertising the mock forest funeral the group is organizing for in front of Province House in Halifax October 19.</p>

Concerned over the loss of the province's forests from what it refers to as "rampant clear-cutting" the Healthy Forest Coalition is calling on Nova Scotians to attend to a mock forest funeral outside the Nova Scotia Legislature October 19 at 1 p.m.

The plan calls for a procession to gather at Parade Square on the corner of Halifax's Barrington and George Streets before marching to Province House "to tell our politicians to end the irresponsible, whole-sale liquidation of our forests," according to a press release from the group.

"We need a couple of thousand people to attend to really get the message across that people are extremely concerned about rampant clear-cutting and over-harvesting in Nova Scotia," Donna Crossland, a biologist who is helping to organize the event told LighthouseNOW in an email.

Woodlot owners, forestry workers, scientists, tourism promoters, and rural and urban citizens alike are invited to the funeral, where wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft will deliver a eulogy for the forests.

"Bancroft will be joined by other fiery speakers and a musician or two who will celebrate the life of our forests," notes the press release.

According to Crossland, who works at Kejimkujik and is a member of the coalition, the group has organized the event for when political leaders assemble at Province House.

"I can think of no other funeral more important than our own Mother Earth's funeral, with her forests and wildlife departed," said Crossland.

"Additionally we will have fisher, marten, moose, and forest songbirds on tiny caskets/platforms at the event to follow behind the coffin full of logs, which will be led by a bagpiper. When we kill the forest, we kill the wildlife who require food and shelter under a forest canopy."

Crossland is organizing the event along with the environmental lawyer and author Jamie Simpson as well as others in the Healthy Forest Coalition. Both Crossland and Bancroft were members of the Forest Panel of Expertise working on province's Natural Resources Strategy 2009 to 2010.

Crossland told LighthouseNOW that Natural Resources Strategy commitments were dropped by the Liberal government in 2016 "without any public consultation.

"Rampant forest liquidation has ensued, rather than heeding the public's wishes and the solid science put forth to direct sustainable forestry practices during the NR Strategy," she said.

Simpson is a director of the Ea.st Coast Environmental Association and the author of two books, Journeys through Eastern Old-Growth Forests and Restoring the Acadian Forest, both with Nimbus Publishing,

He recently spoke on environmental rights at the South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians annual general meeting at the Mahone Bay Centre.

"We do not have a legally recognized right to breath clean air or to drink clean water or to eat food that's not contaminated, with environmental toxins. It's incredible," Simpson told the group.

"If you look around the world, we are an anomaly in this regard. Most members of the United Nations recognize their citizens' right to live in a healthy environment. I think we do have a right in Canada, it's just not recognized from a legal point of view," he added.

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