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Letters Jan. 19: Log smarter, not faster; reporting dangers on Island roads

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Felled trees are seen in a Fairy Creek logging area near Port Renfrew. Those protesting old-growth logging are not against cutting second growth, as long as it is done responsibly, a letter-writer says. JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Don’t stop logging, just do it smarter

Re: “Logging protesters in Nanaimo arrested after blocking highway,” Jan. 18.

Please stop referring to us as “anti-logging.” We are pro-logging, if it is selective and sustainable and processed locally.

We are asking that our government do what it promised and protect the tiny amount of our original forest that has not yet been logged. The vast majority of B.C.’s original forests have been clearcut and turned into monoculture tree plantations that do not support the biodiversity of original forests.

B.C.’s forests are now carbon emitters and are contributing to the climate crisis. We desperately need to help our forests return to being carbon sinks sequestering more carbon than they release when harvested.

Three to four shiploads of logs leave Nanaimo harbour monthly headed to foreign mills. Why do we not want the jobs milling these logs?

Employment in the forest industry has dropped dramatically and will continue to fall unless the industry operates smarter. We need government leadership on this, not talk and log.

Vic Brice
Nanaimo

Set up one number to report road conditions

I can empathize with the truckers after my experience with giant potholes on the Trans-Canada Highway.

On Jan. 9 I drove south to Victoria from Nanaimo. Just after Cobble Hill Road, going 80 km/h, my left tire fell into a deep cavern of a hole, and then in quick succession the right, and then the left once more.

I slowed to see if I could spot more. The highway is not illuminated on this stretch, and I dropped into two more after that.

After reading reports of damaged cars on Highway 19 due to giant potholes, I decided to let someone know about these tire-swallowing sized holes.

I called Emcon to report this stretch of road, but it was not in their area, so I called Mainroad, and they took down my report of the road damage.

I only had two contractors to choose from, so it wasn’t that difficult. However, it would be easier to have just one number to call. Perhaps more people would report dangerous road conditions if was as easy as BC1Call or 911.

I support the stance the truckers are taking around road safety. They use them and see the reality of the dangers daily.

We ought to salute truckers and what they do. I appreciate being able to buy whatever I want off a shelf, and it’s in part thanks to them. We owe it to them to provide the safest conditions possible.

Sarah Indy Wakefield
Saanich

Planting trees to offset carbon emissions futile

Our governments, most media and the public, and even environmental organizations, have bought into the misconception that planting trees can counter carbon emissions.

While large amounts of carbon are stored in Canada’s forests, those mature trees took 50-100 years to store that carbon, time spans that we do not have to solve the climate crisis.

During COP26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised funding to plant three million trees (seedlings), but no one bothered to do the math.

Here are some statistics for maple trees using published scientific data: A maple tree at one, 10, and 30 years will absorb 0.0001, 0.005, and 0.078 metric tonnes of CO2 respectively per year.

Canada’s annual emission rate is 730 MT, or 730,000,000 tonnes. For these average cases, the number of trees required to absorb those emissions (divide the emission rate by the amount sequestered) is seven trillion one-year trees, 146 billion 10-year trees, or nine billion 30-year trees.

The sobering realization here is that there are only three trillion trees on the whole planet. Planting three million tree seedlings per year could not make a measureable difference to even one per cent of annual carbon emissions.

Planting trees will help clean polluted air around cities, and will help remove atmospheric CO2 over several centuries, but they cannot counter current annual emissions.

The failure of government to consider these basic facts suggests that they are not really serious about solving the climate crisis. They continue to accept advice from the fossil-fuel industry, but appear not to consult climate or tree scientists.

Geoff Strong
Atmospheric/climate scientist
Cowichan Bay

Urban trees would help to keep us cool

Love Langford Mayor Stew Young or hate him, you have to admire his guts for not just following other local municipalities and their tree bylaws.

I support Young’s opposition because no existing legislation really deals with what I think should be focus of a tree bylaw in an urban setting. This should be to increase the size and quality of our urban forest.

A landowner wishing to remove a tree on their property should have to plant two new ones. A developer who removes trees for a substantial new development should have to contribute to a city-run project that increases boulevard and park tree planting.

We see numerous occasions when public works or engineering departments have to remove trees for valid reasons, and homeowners should have the same right.

While admirable and appropriate to restrict the cutting of old-growth forests throughout the province, trees within urban settings are completely different.

Climate warming issues such as extreme summer heat and high wind storms need to be taken into account in the maintenance and positioning of trees, especially in relation to existing dwellings.

I recently built a home in Victoria on a lot that was “bald,” so I added five trees in locations that will be attractive and will provide shade to keep energy costs down during high heat times.

Also, Victoria is planting more boulevard trees and I would love to see an “adopt a tree program” where the homeowner(s) immediately adjacent take it upon themselves to make sure it gets watered.

It’s one thing to plant a new tree, but it’s useless unless it flourishes over time to provide the benefits we all want.

Paul Osborne
Victoria

Canada Post returned the missing keys

The other day I cleverly picked up the mail from our box down the road and cleverly left my keys in the door to the box.

The next morning a Canada Post delivery truck pulled up to the front door, and a very friendly delivery man handed me my keys.

You have to love those who go beyond what they have to do in order just to do something caring for others.

Greg Robinson
North Saanich

A green future with the nuclear option

Is our Canadian government working with the provinces and territories in planning a viable strategy to meet our quickly evolving green-energy demands?

Those living in B.C., Manitoba, Newfoundland and Quebec are fortunate enough to have a majority of their electricity come from hydro, but how about the future of these provinces and the rest of Canada?

Imagine, no gas stoves, ovens, fireplaces, grills, BBQs, furnaces, water heaters and no more fuel-burning power plants, cars, trucks, buses, boats, RVs, motorcycles, ATVs, commercial greenhouses, etc.

Allowing for our current trajectory, most of our Canadian society will be electrified by 2050. Can we upgrade current hydro projects, or how many additional hydro projects can we start, or should we have another serious look at the nuclear reactor option?

According to the latest data, there are over 400 active nuclear power reactors in more than 30 countries with another 55 new reactors either under construction or scheduled for construction in the next five years.

While Canada has 19 reactors, with Ontario producing about 60 per cent of their electricity from nuclear, no new reactors are planned.

I hope our respective leaders are paying attention to the electrical demand curve as we transition to a low carbon energy future. Summer and winter peak electricity demand is becoming the norm, bold decisions and capital are needed now before we begin living with rolling blackouts.

Steve Hertling
Qualicum Beach

Don’t get weary, get your booster shot

I heard that 500,000 British Colombians have not shown up to have a booster vaccination and the reason given was that they were COVID weary.

It’s all relative. If you want to know real “COVID weary“ talk to our health-care workers.

Please people, have a heart. Get your booster and stay out of the hospital.

Marne St Claire
Victoria

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