|Concerned citizens at the 1993 Clayoquot protests were successful in their efforts|
to halt the clear cutting of one of the last and largest intact ancient forests on Vancouver Island
What do you do when governments and big business conspire to do what is most profitable rather than what is right? What do you do when the members of the legislature do not respond to normal avenues of citizen feedback?
The protests of 1993 in Clayoquot Sound near Tofino, BC are what you do. You educate, organize, and gather together 12,000 citizens. Then you put your body between those that would kill and their prey - the big trees in one of the last intact ancient forests, a 350,000 hectare wilderness area.
In the case of Clayoquot, site of the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada's history, protesters were putting their bodies between the agents of big logging interests and one of the largest remaining tracts of ancient temperate rain forest left on Vancouver Island.
Hundreds of ordinary people providing valuable feedback to the people they employee in government, and a valuable service to humanity for protecting this unique global gift, were arrested for their efforts.
However, their work got done what letters, phone calls, petitions, facts, meetings and the truth failed to do up until then.
Indeed, people gathering in great numbers in streets, squares, avenues, parks, and on the ocean and up logging roads is usually the only thing that will stop (or slow) the rampant greed of self-interested individuals in both government and business.
From Haida war canoes blockading enormous bulk whole log carriers full of sacred old growth cedars, to Clayoquot Sound, to concerned citizens gathering on the lawn of the legislature, organizing and gathering together to exercise our civic responsibilities is the most effective way to go.
And now, 20 years after Clayoquot, the pressure is building again all over Canada as hard fought for environmental protections are stripped from the books by resource mad federal and provincial governments.
Logging of ancient trees close to Cathedral Grove, proposed pipelines, dwindling salmon in our ocean, damaging run of the river private power providers, and renewed threats of logging in Clayoquot virtually ensure that mass acts of civil disobedience are sure to occur once again.
When they do, the victorious protests in Clayoquot Sound will be used as both a guideline and inspiration.