New Brunswick is beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. We are so lucky to live in such natural beauty.
We all know the forest is abundant with wildlife because that's where they find food. Forests are abundant with wildflowers and plants that provide ground cover. People can forage in the woods for edible plants and berries. Roaming in the forest is a great way for you, your children and grandchildren to learn about nature and what it offers to all living creatures.
Who would think that the total eradication of thou-sands of acres of forest by clearcutting would be considered a benefit? Likewise, why replant with only a single species of trees, or feel the need to spray it with a poison just to kill new plants that dare grow among the newly planted trees? Herbicides kill not only the undergrowth but also many other species that once called the forest their home.
The new forest is now uninhabitable for most forest-dwelling animals. Their food is destroyed. Some of the forest-dwelling creatures that lost their habitat try to find food in adjacent uncut woodlots (which are often owned by private individuals).
The sudden influx of homeless creatures can quickly destroy adjacent woodlots. Porcupines will eat the last of the pine trees. If a woodlot had been surrounded by forest and is suddenly standing stark naked and exposed to the elements, a good storm will soon blow it down.
Trees hold water and keep the forest floor cool. Research has shown that clearcutting results in a significant drop in the water table during the summer and an increased water temperature compared to an uncut forest. No person in their right mind would willingly destroy their own home. We humans are part of the home called Earth. By destroying it, we also destroy ourselves.
The poisons so liberally sprayed from planes are said to be harmless. Who is the beneficiary of this practice? A few corporations? And what are these so-called benefits? When will these benefits become obvious? How are these benefits measured? Where can the public obtain this information?
It seems the harm done to our environment and the cost of this mistaken notion of continued riches will be far higher in the future. A direct hazard to humans might not be obvious. The indirect harm at a later stage will be enormous.
Rachel Carson in Silent Spring says it well, "As crude a weapon as the caveman's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life."
Knowing that we, as tax-paying citizens, are directly responsible for this carnage on the land, makes this even more tragic. Taxpayer money is used by governments to buy the poison, spray the forest for the companies that harvest the wood.
The power and the act of the office of elected government officials is in the service of the people that elected them. Why are they reeling against the wishes of the people? Stop spraying, stop clear-cutting!
When we complain, we are told we are against the economy. Some are afraid to speak up. Others are muzzled. Newspapers in New Brunswick are owned by one of the forest industry giants. Hence the news of this devastation is limited. As a matter of fact, it is being hailed as an accomplishment in forest management.
We all have to stand up together against the destruction and poisoning of the land that impacts all living creatures on our planet. We have invented a cure for a problem that doesn't even exist.
Fifty years ago the question was: when will the public become sufficiently aware of the facts to demand action?
Now the question is: when will the government become aware that the public demands action?
This is an edited version of the speech Moranda gave to the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship on June 25, 2021. Image of the Acadian Forest in New Ireland by Janet Wallace.