Camp was already at our usual table, engrossed in the Vancouver Sun.
‘Great interview by the way. Folly Bistro will be a hit at my bookstore.’
‘Thanks Camp, I can use all the free PR I can get.’
‘On another note looks like the logging industry in British Columbia is bracing for some bad times,’ he said, while folding the paper.
‘Yes, I read that sawmills are closing all over the province with hundreds of people being laid off.’
Camp leaned back in his chair and folded one leg over the other – a sure sign of a lengthy diatribe to come. ‘The Forest Amendment Act, past by our provincial government a couple of months again, was to ensure that crown forests – publicly owned land – benefit the public rather than big forest companies, thereby ignoring the fact that big companies – not the public or the government – create employment and profit. This legislation also increases the investment risk due to the uncertainty of a governmental veto over a future sale. Not great incentives to invest millions of dollars when they can go elsewhere. Add to that decreasing inventory plus the increase in raw log exports, the lack of value added products and the 20% tariff by the Americans and you have a perfect storm.’
‘The industry also blames the high cost of stumpage and weak market conditions. Fact is it’s a disaster for many small communities reliant on forestry,’ I said. ‘I wonder if we managed our forests properly over the past.’
‘Since the 30ies BC has planted about 7.5 billion trees,’ Camp said, ‘and 80% of harvested areas are replanted. In 2016 and 2017 over 260 million trees have been planted.’
‘If everybody would do the same, we could probably stave off global warming by sequestering millions of tonnes of carbon,’ I said.
‘Tell that to the Brazilians,’ Camp said. ‘The Amazon basin contains 40% of the planet’s rainforests and its gradual transformation into something close to desert – not helped by the deforestation sanctioned by the new president in the name of development. In the last 50 years Brazil has destroyed 17 percent of the original rainforest. Since Bolsanora took office in January, trees have been disappearing at a rate of over two Manhattans or two Bowen Islands every week.’
‘You obviously have your info this week,’ I said. ‘In order to avoid global warming a forest the size of the US needs to be planted according to a report from the ETH, the technical institute in Zurich. That translates into 1 billion hectares or 1.5 trillion trees, added to the existing 3 trillion. How is that for numbers.’
‘Good luck with that,’ Camp said. ‘In theory, that’s possible, but that would mean that all countries and people would have to first agree and then work together. A noble idea.’ Camp said with a hint of cynicism, emptying his first pint in one long drought.
I joined my friend and we both concentrated on our beers. Neither one of us wanted to mention the elephant in the room but it was unavoidable.
‘Two more mass shootings in the US and Trump blames violent video games and mental illness for pulling the triggers,’ I finally said.
‘Conveniently forgetting that there are just as many video games and mentally ill people in Europe, Japan and anywhere else in the world, but only in one country are there more guns than people,’ Camp said.
‘Exactly, 110 gun deaths every day, 40’000 per year, 300 million guns and counting in the hands of ordinary citizens and a misogynist, xenophobic president who fuels racial and ethnical hatred and then blames mental instability.’
‘Maybe he will blame the Chinese? It’s their guns, especially the cheap SKS semi automatic that proliferate the whole middle-east and was the most popular gun in the US during the 90ies. I think it was the year 2000 when Nancy Pelosi, along with some other Senators, wrote a letter to the house urging them to deny China favourite trade status. The letter concluded: ‘Don’t give China the power to decide gun policy in the US.’ Something like that. Look where we’re at now
‘Are you two having fun and how is married life?’ Vicky said while putting down a couple of fresh brews.
‘Very comfy, thank you, it’s like having found my way home.’
‘You just looked in all the wrong places.’
‘I didn’t really look at all.’
‘Lucky you,’ Vicky said.