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Jobs or the Environment: Is It Really A Choice?

For too long there has been conflict in our province. Many British Columbians have felt that they were forced to choose between logging the forest or saving the environment. This conflict has divided our communities, created fear, and blocked our ability to find solutions. In the meantime, our wild spaces have been disappearing quickly and so have resource jobs. We've gotten caught in a lose-lose deadlock.

Download a copy of the document
"Jobs and Environment: Moving British Columbia into the 21st Century"
PDF Format; 67pgs.; 272K (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Clearly, things have got to change. BC Spaces for Nature is asking you now to step back from the tired old arguments and ask yourself... Is it a choice between jobs or the environment? Must it really be one or the other? Can't we find a way to secure both our jobs and our forests? Of course we can. But only if we move from fear toward hope. To do this we must ask ourselves some tough questions: What forest jobs do we want to have in the future? What kind of world will we leave our children? How do we create a future that provides for both jobs and the environment in British Columbia?

Moving From Confrontation to Cooperation

British Columbia's forests and wilderness are crucial to community health, to ecological survival, and to employment. Today, both old growth forests and forest jobs are disappearing at a disturbing rate. Land development is occurring so rapidly that we have less than five years to protect samples of BC's remaining wilderness for our children. Meanwhile, overcutting and forestry mechanization are putting too many jobs at risk. If we continue the way we're going, both jobs and the environment will be endangered.

British Columbians want both economic development and environmental protection. *Surveys show that fully 75% of adult British Columbians believe that we must have safeguards in place to prevent environmental destruction when planning economic development2. What this means is that we need jobs and wilderness. We must have both ancient and future forests.

To do this British Columbians must move from the confrontation of the past to a new spirit of cooperation.

We must move from conflict to creating solutions. We must make a tomorrow that ensures jobs for our workers and a healthy environment for our children.

*Angus Reid Group. B.C. Reid Report Fall 1993. pg. 73.

The Jobs & Environment Action Plan

BC Spaces for Nature proposes a Jobs and Environment Action Plan that will achieve both a healthy environment and a strong economy.

Working together we can:

  • Save BC's Endangered Wild Spaces:
    We must protect viable samples of each BC ecosystem while we still can.
  • Get More Jobs Per Tree:
    We must expand the value-added wood products industry.
  • End the Overcut:
    The number one threat to forest jobs is that our trees are being cut faster than they can regrow. To ensure future jobs, logging must be reduced to sustainable levels.
  • Take Better Care of the Commercial Forest:
    To improve timber value and create jobs,we must replant all non-restocked forest lands, commercially thin second growth forests and move from clearcutting toward selection logging.
  • Diversify Rural Community Economies:
    We must promote tourism, develop knowledge-based rural industries, and encourage small businesses including those involving alternative use of the forest.

Through BC Spaces' Jobs and Environment Action Plan we can create jobs, protect wild spaces and sustain our forests. It is a win-win solution - now and for tomorrow.

The Jobs and Environment Agenda: Necessary and Achievable

Protecting BC's disappearing wild spaces while also ensuring rural employment is a realistic and urgent agenda. But we need to act fast to ensure that a healthy environment and sustainable economy for future British Columbians becomes a reality. This means we must replace the old jobs vs. the environment confrontation with a new Jobs and Environment cooperation.

Change happens when people work together. You can you help propel your community into a Jobs and Environment future? Talk to your neighbours and to your kids. Discuss the Jobs and Environment Plan with your co-workers. Make your political representatives aware that your community will create more Jobs by also protecting the Environment.

Only by working together can we move from fear to hope. With this spirit we can create a future that protects Nature for our children and ensures the jobs needed for thriving communities. Clearly we can have both Jobs and Environment in British Columbia.

Ecosystem services are complex and irreplaceable; beyond our ability to create or control. They provide huge economic benefits to us both globally and locally.

For more information download the document "Wild Economics"
(a 3 page PDF file - 20K; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Click here for articles from a range of writers and experts commenting on BC's environment and emerging global economic realities.

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