In Canada, beating hearts are gathering to fight for old-growth forest. In this guest post, storyteller and writer Ian MacKenzie considers the meanings and implications of the Fairy Creek Blockade, and shares how to get involved.
A few weeks ago, the Fairy Creek Blockade reached a milestone.
What started as a small but significant attempt to halt logging into the Fairy Creek watershed where some of the last remaining ancient trees on Vancouver Island reside, has grown to become the longest running civil disobedience campaign in Canadian history.
To date: over 830 forest protectors have been arrested, withstanding 105 days of police enforcement to remove them, which would allow the logging corporation Teal Jones to “harvest" the trees.
Yet, with the leadership of indigenous elder Bill Jones, along with indigenous youth and unsettled settlers of all ages, they have resisted the violent attempts to remove them.
They are actively seeking support of all kinds. Visit laststandforforests.com to connect and get involved.
This is the story is happening all over the world. As the biosphere continues to unravel, late-stage capitalism would rather liquidate the remaining ecosystems (and crush anyone in the way) rather than alter this suicidal course.
Mainstream appeals to “common sense” and balancing “jobs” are completely out of touch with the reality of the climate emergency. Yet rather than dehumanizing others with various labels, I see this crisis as borne from a battle between two kinds of consciousness.
On the one hand, if you believe that Nature is fundamentally a resource and that trees are commodities to be harvested and sold, and like any commodity, a tree is interchangeable with any other tree - this is frame of the In-Animist...aka the Colonized. This is why talk about jobs and resource sustainability seem obvious and why these "protestors” just don't get it.
And yet, if you believe that Nature is fundamentally alive, that all beings are our relations and humans are simple part of that grander web of life, and that every tree (especially the ancient forests) are unique and deeply consequential, this is the frame of the Animist, and you understand why we must rise up against the ongoing destruction wrought by Empire.
To the Colonized mind, it won't make sense why these trees matter. As Bill Plotkin shared in my recent podcast interview with him, there is a necessary ‘eco-awakening’ that modern people must undergo. Otherwise, this relational understanding has nowhere to land in their soul...though they may experience it as a dull existential ache that longs to be part of life but doesn't know how.
Children raised in intact indigenous cultures generally have no need for such an awakening, as they were never conditioned out of this fundamental recognition that young children understand naturally.
And so, flash points like Fairy Creek are vital to crack through amnesia and connect with the collective cry of all beings and the generations to come.