CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A public event called “Ode to the Old Growth” held at Hollyhock last Friday raised more than $3,000 to support Fairy Creek forest protesters.
The senior leadership team at Hollyhock said that the two-hour fundraiser was entirely staff-driven and very much community-supported, with folks being turned away once the space reached its safe capacity of 100 event guests. Predominantly, local musicians, spoken word artists and presenters all donated their time so that the entirety of proceeds could go directly to the frontline forest defenders. Two of them, Rainbow Eyes and Glenn Reid, were the evening’s guests of honour.
Rainbow Eyes is of the Da’naxda’xw-Awaetlala First Nation and a graduate of the First Nations Stewardship Technicians Training Program through Vancouver Island University, which focuses on environmental protection and leadership.
“Where we are as people on the planet is scary. And we don’t look at it. We ignore it. We live in a bubble. When we begin to open our eyes to the destruction of ourselves, it opens up a pit of fear that people cannot face. But that’s what we have to do. [It’s] this great shadow that we must enter,” she said.
Reid likened the blockades at Fairy Creek to an “epicenter of change.” Tzeporah Berman, a well-known Canadian environmental activist, echoed this sentiment on stage at Friday’s fundraiser.
“Change isn’t linear,” she said. “We need to remember that it’s not just what we’re doing at this moment” because of the ripple effects created.
As of Sept. 2, there have been 839 arrests to date at the Fairy Creek blockades. An RCMP press release from Aug. 30 states that, “On Saturday August 28, 2021 police supported and facilitated the peaceful, lawful and safe protest actions by approximately 250 people who were permitted up the Granite Mainline road to a gravel pit. Speeches and other activities took place and almost all participants left without any issues.”
The police continue to remove hard blocks and people occupying them as per the injunction granted to Teal-Jones Group, which expires on September 26. The forestry corporation has applied for a year-long extension, and has been quoted as saying this week, “Without the injunction, anarchy would reign in TFL 46 [Tree Farm Licence 46, where they have provincial logging permits]. Teal Cedar is accordingly applying to extend the injunction to ensure the rule of law is respected and that Teal Cedar and all those who depend on the forest for their livelihood can continue their lawful work.”
Teal-Jones Group could not be reached for comment through their website nor a previously named media contact.
The injunction’s extension is being legally challenged by a group of Victoria seniors called Elders for Ancient Trees.
David Tindall, a professor in the sociology department at the University of British Columbia who is viewed as an expert in Canadian environmental movements, believes that the ongoing Fairy Creek blockades have succeeded in raising public awareness and media attention to a level the government has no choice but to address.
Listen to the CKTZ News report above, which contains audio excerpts from interviews with forest defenders Rainbow Eyes and Glenn Reid, as well as a speech given by environmental activist Tzeporah Berman on Friday Aug. 27 at Hollyhock on Cortes Island.