Why we are worse than Brazil
The Globe and Mail
Everyone has been shrieking about Brazil’s poor stewardship of the burning Amazon, said Arno Kopecky, but Canada deserves just as much ire. This country has the second-largest intact forest on Earth after the Amazon, and we are wantonly destroying it. The boreal, as it’s called, has been emitting more carbon than it absorbs since 2002. That’s partly because our logging industry chops down 990,000 acres of it each year, “mostly to supply the U.S. with Kleenex and toilet paper.” Worldwide, we place third for loss of intact forests, behind just Russia and Brazil—and if you calculate that loss per capita, “we lead them by a large margin.” But the main reason the boreal has turned “from carbon sink to source” is fire. Last summer, British Columbia lost nearly 3 million acres to blazes that blanketed western Canada in smoke. And because of the drying effects of climate change, the trees aren’t growing back and are increasingly being replaced by grasslands. Worst of all, though, is our “desecration of the last stands of ancient temperate rain forest” anywhere in the world. That rain forest, on British Columbia’s lush coast—home to 1,000-year-old trees—is already 80 percent logged. Unlike Brazil, we don’t need foreign aid to save our forests. We just need the will.