Talk and Log: Wilderness Politics in British Columbia, 1965-96

Talk and Log: Wilderness Politics in British Columbia, 1965-96

Talk and Log: Wilderness Politics in British Columbia, 1965-96

Talk and Log: Wilderness Politics in British Columbia, 1965-96

Synopsis

For more than three decades, British Columbia's old growth forests have been a major source of political conflict. In Talk and Log, Jeremy Wilson presents a comprehensive account of the rise of the wilderness movement, examines the forest industry's political strategies, and analyzes the inner workings of the policy process. Wilson describes a number of major political battles, such as those resulting in preservation of South Moresby, the Carmanah, and the Valhalla wilderness, and investigates the factors that pushed the government towards a more comprehensive approach to expanding the protected areas system. He considers a wide range of forest policy developments and assesses the effectiveness of government and industry attempts to contain the wilderness movement. In the final part, he explores the Harcourt NDP government's reform initiatives, including the Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE), the Protected Areas Strategy, and the Forest Practices Code. Talk and Log illuminates the forces behind controveries that have divided British Columbians, preoccupied the provincial government, and drawn the attention of people across Canada and the world. By discussing the patterns and trends underlying the past three decades of wilderness politics, Wilson identifies the currents likely to dominate B. C. wilderness debates in decades to come.

Excerpt

At the beginning of the 1990s, environmentalists dubbed the years ahead the 'turnaround decade,' a critical decade that would reveal whether political societies around the globe were capable of responding effectively to ominous environmental threats. It remains to be seen whether future historians will in fact look back on the 1990s as any more crucial than the decades that preceded or followed. Most likely, they will portray this decade, like the two or three on either side, as one illustrating the full range of forces that promote or impede effective political responses to environmental problems.

This book is a case study of how these forces have played out in the bc political system. It examines the impact of environmentalism on provincial government forest and wilderness policy between 1965 and 1996. Given BC's natural advantages, we must be cautious about generalizing from this case to conclusions about the political realities facing those who tackle environmental problems in other societies. bc is a sparsely populated frontier society whose residents have enjoyed the manifold benefits of a bountiful natural resource inheritance. One wishing to take the measure of this inheritance perhaps need look no further than the fact that, as the twentieth century draws to a close, the bc government is still in a position to protect wilderness areas larger than medium-sized European countries. in large part because of the province's natural resource wealth, British Columbians generally enjoy levels of economic security and public services envied by people in most other nations. They are relatively well educated and environmentally aware. Many cherish the 'outdoors' as a place in which to enjoy recreational and nature-study activities.

These happy realities have meant that the challenges confronting bc environmentalists are very different from those facing their counterparts in other parts of the world. These realities have certainly not, however, meant smooth sailing for the province's environmental movement. BC's advantages have provided the province with opportunities to take a lead . . .

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