LETTERS: Fletcher is wrong

Fletcher takes an inaccurate hard line when he calls out the folks who worked for many years to protect the Great Bear coast.

Mr. Fletcher (Penticton Western News, Feb. 10, column Protesters fear peace in the forest) takes an inaccurate hard line when he calls out the folks who worked for many years to protect the Great Bear coast.

He attempts to minimize their role because they were “U.S. directed.” That’s misdirection in my book. We all take a necessary interest in what is happening on either side of the border. Our rivers, animals, mountains, plains, people and trade don’t stop at the 49th.

A reference to Greenpeace as “Dutch-based” is an attempt to besmirch that organization. Greenpeace started as a loosely knit group of primarily Canadian activists, many from Vancouver. Over the years Greenpeace evolved into a major environmental NGO with offices in over 40 countries with a co-ordinating body in Amsterdam. It’s important to remember we’re living on planet earth, an interrelated, shared system.

The variety and repetition of loaded terms and phrases, and not-so-subtle attacks on celebrities who speak out on environmental issues, felt intentionally divisive. If Charleston Heston supports the NRA or Clint Eastwood supports George Bush what’s the issue with Miley Cyrus speaking out on wolves?

Note that the wolves in question do make their home on the coastal margins in the Great Bear. Ian McAllister, a renowned wolf researcher has a book on the sea wolves, the same wolves featured in the September 2015 National Geographic.

Mr. Fletcher’s suggestion that Great Bear Rainforest activists used “bully tactics” is also an exaggeration. Considering that when this process started, three of the environmental negotiators were young women, I find it hard to imagine how they “bullied” corporate negotiators who were unfailingly male, 10 to 20 years older and hardened by the rough and tumble of the logging business.

As Jody Holmes, one of the core environmental negotiators, is quoted in the Vancouver Observer, “There was a level of trust that started getting built there — it’s discovering that the person across the table from you is just as human as you, they have most of the same basic concerns that you have, and they’re all really interested in doing the right thing too.” That’s the story.

For another perspective on how the agreement was achieved: check out this Vancouver Observer article http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/02/12/news/rainforest-negotiator.

Dianne Bersea




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