The Forest is Ours

by Daimen Hardie on April 22, 2014

On this Earth Day 2014, Community Forests International would like you to think about forests.  Bear with me though, because there’s a twist.  If you’re a New Brunswicker, we’d like you to think about your forest.  That’s right, yours. Specifically, the 10.78 acres of forest that every NBer has rights to - your share of the vast public lands held in trust by our government.  (If you’re not a New Brunswicker we would still very much appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue – we like good ideas no matter where they come from).

Is this 10 acres of forest news to you? A dream come true?  It’s true alright, but probably not how you dreamt it.  That’s ok though, today can be about deciding exactly what you want for forests in NB and taking the first steps towards bringing that vision into reality.  The forest really is yours, but it’s just not being treated that way.  Together we can change that.

Over 8 million acres of forest in New Brunswick is known as Crown Forest, and it belongs collectively to the roughly 750,000 citizens of the province (hence the 10 acres each).  What a wealth of land for such a small population!  You're probably asking yourself now, "If we own all this land, why aren't NBers filthy rich?".  With good decisions and strategies that reflect the many values that our forests and communities hold - and a bit of wisdom from the people on the land - we could be rich.  New Brunswick’s Crown Forests could be a solution to our climbing debt, a lifeline for our struggling rural communities, and a salve for our hurting planet.  Unfortunately though, the powers entrusted with the management of our forestland don’t always make good decisions in our name.    

Did you hear about the Crown Land forest strategy announced on March 12th?  This is the new plan for your 10 acres and mine.  In the words of Ken Hardie (no relation to the author), one of CFI’s heroes and the President of the NB Federation of Woodlot Owners:

“This thing is wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong.”

Enough said.  If I listed all the reasons why it’s so wrong I’d ruin your Earth day. (Don’t take my word for it though, I urge you to read more about the issue when you get a chance and I’ve provided some links at the bottom of this article to get you started).  What I’d like you to consider today is the simple fact that you were not consulted on this new strategy at all.  And you should have been, it’s your forest we’re talking about. 

Forgive me for being blunt, but the reason the government didn’t ask you for your input is because the industry bullies that hold the real power in this province don’t like your ideas.  Ask the public what they think and you get a thousand different right answers - a diversity of ideas and uses for our forest.  Ask a private company with vested interests and you get one idea that’s just wrong, wrong, wrong.

We like your ideas – they’re important and worth sharing.  Please take a moment to think about what you want for your forest in New Brunswick, and cast your vote here:

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