Noon Friday: Occupy London to deliver message to Brookfield Asset Management in protest at the one per cent
When: Midday – 2pm Friday 13 January
Where: Brookfield Asset Management, 23 Hanover Sq, London
Brookfield Asset Management is a company typical of the one per cent. International property developers, hugely rich, tax avoiders. They bank in the Bahamas. They also own Zuccotti Park in New York, where Occupy Wall St was based prior to violent eviction.
Today (Friday 13 January) Occupy London will deliver a message to their London office’s that now is the time for Brookfield to stop asset stripping natural resources around the world and time for them to stop making money from the destruction of people’s resources … wherever they are.
Occupy London will present a petition with 6,000 signatures demanding Brookfield hand over the forest to the local community of Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada so that the last one per cent of its ancient forest can be protected from the greed of the profiteering one per cent.
This old growth – mature second growth forests and extensive seasonal wetlands which Brookfield is set to destroy – is home to 10 species and 10 ecological communities that by provincial legislation are threatened, endangered or of special concern.
Occupy is a global movement and our refusal is as international as capital. In New York, Canada, Australia and Braxil actions are also planned. All power to the 99 per cent. For a planet of forests not stripped assets.
 Cortes Island: Call to Action and Fact Sheet:
An industrial logging machine is mowing down Vancouver Island forests at an accelerating rate for the purpose of raw log export. Corporate owners with close yet complex relationships and recurring faces view these forests as distressed assets in need of liquidation. The government of British Columbia, hungry for short term cash, clears the way for them.
It’s the same kind of machine that operates the world over for the profit of the global asset shareholder, and it’s about to reach Cortes Island. There, it will face a community deeply rooted in the ecological integrity of island forests, a community that has fought industrial scale logging for the last twenty years with a high level of success.
A petition signed by over 5,500 people reflects that community. The petition was emailed, facebooked and tweeted from one alarmed lover of Cortes Island to another reaching deep through island residents, across Canada and beyond, in a brief two week time frame.. Petitioners include old time island families, well-connected citizens of the continent’s biggest cities, authors, influential environmentalists, seasoned forest campaigners and local schoolchildren worried about the future of their home. Most of all, petitioners include people who care deeply about the legacy they will leave.
Cortes Island touches thousands because it is one of the world’s unique places, both accessible and wild, a place of experiences that inspire wonder and restore a sense of belonging in natural world. Cortes Island is precious in itself and it’s a microcosm of how the short term goals of a very few people are destroying the ability of the biological world to renew itself, something that none of us can honorably claim to own. The effort to protect these forests is a vital matter of legacy.
About Cortes Island
- Cortes Island is part of the Klahoose First Nation traditional territory and lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It has a year round population of 1000 hardy souls and a summer population of 3 thousand. Hollyhock Conference Centre, Linnaea Farm and Bainbridge Graduate Institute contribute to Cortes Island’s reputation as an educational center for nature-based practices and values.
- IT’s parcels consist of 2700 acres that bisect the island from east to west. These lands hold the deepest soils, the biggest trees and the island’s central water recharge area.
- Pockets of old growth are part of the 1% of old growth that remains in British Columbia.
- These old growth, mature second growth forests and extensive seasonal wetlands are home to 10 species and 10 ecological communities that by provincial legislation are threatened, endangered or of special concern. Species include the: common nighthawk; barn swallow; olive sided fly catcher; sooty (blue) grouse; northern goshawk; band tailed pigeon; red legged frog; pacific sideband snail, great blue heron and northern pygmy owl.
- The Cortes Island community has worked for over two decades to oppose industrial scale logging and bring ecosystem based forestry to these lands.
- According to Wayne French, Operations Manager for IT, industrial scale logging operations will begin in January and will include key areas in need of protection, including old growth stands and delicate wetland areas, despite the unfulfilled promise of a meaningful community consultation.
About Island Timberlands and Brookfield Asset Management
- BAM has $110 billion in assets under management and delivered an annual return of 23% from 2000 to 2010.
- Brascan, now BAM, purchased Cortes Island land as part of a purchase of 635,000 acres of BC forest lands from Weyerhaeuser. BAM divided the private and public forest land assets, closed the mills, and restructured the management of private forest lands for faster harvest and more export of raw logs.
- BAM created Brookfield Infrastructure Partners to hold IT and other global assets. BIP is headquartered in the Bahamas where it avoids certain Canadian taxes and civil liabilities.
- Under BAM/IT management, BC raw log exports have skyrocketed. More than 62% of raw logs exports come from privately managed forest lands. Raw log exports increased by more than 50% in 2010, with more logs shipped to China than during the previous 20 years combined. In the first three months of 2011 alone, BC’s coast exported 40% or 1.3 million cubic metres of logs, a 300% from the same period in 2009.
About the Province of British Columbia
- IT and other huge timber companies are major contributors to the Liberal Party of BC which, under Gordon Campbell, removed protection from privately managed forest lands and replaced it with a highly flexible, industry friendly Act which does not prohibit activity on forest land but provides voluntary guidelines with oversight by a council that is closely connected with logging industry owners.
- According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, forest liquidation rates that have resulted in: Logging at double the sustainable rate with one company’s stock of Douglas fir slated for depletion within 25 years; waste of usable wood; and job loss because trees are no longer delivered to coastal mills.