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Clearcut logging is an immoral practice

Guest Salmon in the Sky

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Guest Salmon in the Sky


16-year-old climate and old-growth activist Kyle Hicks stands beside an ancient western red cedar in the Inland Temperate Rainforest in the Ladybird Creek Watershed.


Logging as it is now practiced is an immoral practice that destroys nature. Not only does it destroy nature, it will slowly but surely kill us.

Trees are the “Lungs of the Earth” because they create and cleanse the oxygen we breath. In logging (at least in how it is now practiced—clearcutting) we plunder and rape and kill our very breath of life—it can be no plainer than this.

We also set off irreversible chain reactions and compromise our children’s futures. In the name of Love for our children we will cut down irreplaceable old-growth forests for temporal "satisfactory pleasures"—that all too soon lose their amusement.

We deplete the soil, pollute the water and create landslides that the children will have to deal with. Do you call this love? It definitely is not.

And with climate change threatening us this is definitely not the time to be procrastinating.

We have the means and the ability to stop unsustainable forestry and get off fossil fuels. The only thing in the way is our sinful selves with not enough Love in our hearts to really stand up for what’s right, for the whole future of the planet, for everything special to us. Are you willing? Are you going to act? Are you going to act in love, now?

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I agree with you Salmon in the Sky, that clearcut logging ought to be seen as an “immoral practice”.

But who gets to judge whether it is immoral or not? This question naturally leads to a consideration of what it means for a practice to be considered “moral.”

One definition of “moral” is “a person’s standards of behaviour or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.”

Morality, then, is a personal standard. By extension, consideration of what is an “immoral” practice is also based on a personal standard.

In BC, if we look around carefully enough, we see large numbers of clearcuts. In most parts of the province there are far more clearcuts that there is mature or old forest.

It seems evident, then, that most people aren’t offended by clearcuts, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of them. So, for most people, clearcutting is not an “immoral practice”.

That’s partly because they are told, relentlessly, by government and industry, that the benefits of clearcutting far outweigh the costs.

How can more people—including our political leaders—be made conscious of why you and I, and many others (but somewhat short of a majority) consider clearcutting to be immoral?

I think you hit the nail on the head when you describe the impacts of clearcutting: loss of the ability to create oxygen, depletion of soil, polluting water and creating landslides. There are several other negative impacts, including loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat, increasing the risk of forest fire, loss of carbon sequestration capacity, and increasing climate instability by the destruction of forest carbon sinks.

Most people, I think, would understand that any person involved in creating these effects is damaging our common life support system and is, therefore, behaving immorally. But most people aren’t aware of these impacts. All they hear, from government, industry and through mainstream media, is that logging provides jobs, building materials and adds to our trade surplus. Mass timber!

So how do we persuade more people to be conscious of the overall impacts of logging and the need to limit it?

If we can do that, whatever it is, then clearcutting will eventually be widely considered an immoral practice and we will stop doing it.

We need to act, urgently, but the only thing that will move the needle is to share what we know about the damage being done by logging in BC. Thanks for sharing your point of view.

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