Letter: Let’s be responsible for how forestry is done

Dear Editor,

I am grateful for your efforts to cover the pesticide issue our communities have with Carrier Lumber and the Province at large. So many of us have written letters, signed petitions directed at provincial policy makers and Carrier Lumber opposing their use of glyphosate in aerial and ground applications on public land. With 13,000 pending lawsuits against Monsanto regarding cancer caused by the use of the very same pesticide ‘glyphosate (aka RoundUp) and the October 2018 report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that lists cereals, granola bars and many tested foods your children may eat daily with levels of glyphosate in them (Cheerios and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats to name two) indicating how serious this matter really is. You can add almonds, carrots, quinoa, soy products, vegetable oil, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar and sweet potatoes to that list which typically can contain  high levels of glyphosate. So consider that while we debate the aerial use of herbicides by Carrier Lumber in forestry operations in our valley you and your family could be consuming it on a daily basis.    

Dr. Lisa Wood’s (Professor UNBC) research into forest and plant ecology and the impacts of chemical  herbicides on plants in forest operations confirms that edible and medicinal forest plants that survive aerial spraying of glyphosate retain the herbicide for at least a year. In November 2018 the B.C. forest ministry stated they are cutting back on the use of the herbicide glyphosate in part to provide essential forage for moose throughout the winter. With 14 countries around the world banning the use of glyphosate  and the World Health Organization rating glyphosate as a class 2A carcinogen, a sane person might wonder why we have to even debate this in 2019.  Glyphosate damages the beneficial bacteria in the guts of honeybees and makes them prone to deadly infections. We are in the midst of a global collapse of insect/bee populations which is so severe that the world is waking up to the fact that 70 percent of all food products are dependent on bees for pollination. Feeding the world is in serious jeopardy partly because of glyphosates. The BC Wildlife Federation voted in support of a resolution stating that clearcuts and power lines should not be treated with systemic herbicides like glyphosate. Our narrow valley drainages and our water intakes too numerous to put on a map are all prone to contamination with aerial and backpack spraying, no matter the buffer, no matter the drift.   

For people who make their living from Forestry (mine being one of them) and for farmers and people who are doing their best at working hard and providing for families we still absolutely must be responsible for how business is done, for the health of our own families and the future for others. We are all partly responsible for this mess and are accountable somewhere down the line when our health and the health of our loved ones comes into conflict. Our health is up to us to defend and protect. The challenge is to understand how and why glyphosate is considered an essential tool in forest management while scientists around the world are concerned about the toxic impacts. And yet it is in use today throughout North American in agriculture and forestry, and golf courses and school grounds and parks, etc. Creating employment by hiring people to manually brush and weed cut blocks is a win-win for work and safety and success. It makes no sense that there is so much resistance on Carrier Lumber’s behalf in this simple regard.

Many of us have written Carrier Lumber expressing our concerns over their 5-year Pest Management Plan and their response is that they are simply following provincial policy and that our fight should be with the government. It’s truly irresponsible of them to ignore the evidence and the global opinion that this is poison they are spraying on our public lands.

Carrier needs to be held accountable for their own decisions regardless of provincial policy. They should use alternatives to pesticides because it is the right thing to do. They should stand up for the health of the very forest that provides their employment and their company profits.

People must pay attention to the science today that demands that we be accountable for our actions and protect the environment, particularly where we do business. I also believe the responsibility falls to Mr. Kordyban, the CEO and owner of Carrier Lumber.  I would ask him to take a closer look at how his company does business in our backyards.

Debby Ladouceur

Dunster, British Columbia

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