Activists covered MLA Brittny Anderson’s office door and windows in downtown Nelson with green painted handprints on June 5.
The first print was placed by 14-year-old Ginger Osecki of Nelson. She told the Nelson Star on June 7 that she made a speech outside Anderson’s office calling on the MLA to leave the NDP and join the Green Party because of what Osecki sees as NDP inaction on old growth logging.
“Brittny has stated that she’s against old growth logging, yet she isn’t doing anything about it,” Osecki said.
The demonstration was organized by the group Extinction Rebellion.
Responding to the handprints, Anderson said in an email, “It is so important that we listen to the voices of youth in our communities and across the province. The passion young people are showing on protecting our environment is inspiring.”
The provincial government has been embroiled in controversy during the past few months over allegations that it is not following its own expert panel’s recommendations on cutting old growth forests. Hundreds of people have blockaded loggers on Vancouver Island and 170 have reportedly been arrested. On June 5, three First Nations groups declared a two-year moratorium on logging in the disputed area.
Anderson said the province is asking Indigenous people to lead the way.
“They are the ones leading this process. Our government has taken first steps by protecting hundreds of thousands of hectares of old growth in several areas of the province after consultation with local First Nations, but we recognize there is still more work to do.”
Osecki, as part of the youth group Fridays for Future, has conducted a climate strike in front of Nelson City Hall every Friday with other youth for the past two years.
“I’ve put a lot of my energy into this and I haven’t been heard enough,” she said. “So I thought that this (handprint) action would help me be heard. It’s very symbolic.”
She said she sees cutting of old growth to be a part of the climate crisis and the prints on the MLA’s office are “green hands for Mother Nature.”
Police were not present at the event, Osecki said.
In Castlegar on May 31 the RCMP arrested Osecki and three adults after they blocked the street in front of forest minister Katrine Conroy’s office, refusing to move while demanding the end of cutting old growth. The four were released the same day, so far without charges.
Osecki says that following the Castlegar demonstration she received a call from Premier John Horgan’s office to set up an opportunity for her to discuss old growth logging, a discussion that has not yet happened.