Supporter Spotlight: Carl Sweet - Feb. 2021

Supporter Spotlight: Carl Sweet - Feb. 2021

Supporter Spotlight” features Canadians with a passion for Canada’s Natural Resource sector. Our spotlight this month is Carl Sweet, a forestry supply chain worker from Campbell River, BC. He is passionate about the outdoors, skiing, fishing and enjoying the environment.

Carl Sweet - Canada Action Supporter Spotlight February 2021

Canada Action: Carl! Thank you so much for taking the time today.  You work in the forestry industry. Tell me more about your background and how you ended up in forestry.

Carl: Well I'm not actually a direct forestry worker. I am part of the supply chain to the forest industry and I've been working for a company for 23 years, straight out of high school. I sell construction and forestry equipment like logging truck parts and pieces. I’m based in Campbell River and have lived here most of my life. I grew up in our forests, playing in them and enjoying them.

Campbell River is an industry kind of town; we have forestry, a little bit of mining and aquaculture. Most of my friends are all forestry workers. They work in the bush every day, have their own businesses and they are all hard working people. I absolutely enjoy what I do.

Canada ActionWhy do you think natural resource development is important for Canada?

Carl: Canada has a resource-based economy. We are blessed to have the great riches we have and should be proud that we’ve done it properly. We should be able to balance extraction with environmental stability.

Canada Action: Why do you think all Canadians should care about Canadian natural resource development?  Is there any kind of message that you want to tell Canadians reading this?

Carl: Our resources have given us the life we have become accustomed to. We have healthcare, education and social programs and without our resources we wouldn't have these great programs and assistance as well as all of society's pleasures. I truly believe people take all of this for granted. Most people don't understand where the funds that support all of these programs come from.

Canada Action: It comes from the government!

Carl: Yes - it comes from the government and no one knows where the government gets it from - there is a big disconnect. Just here in British Columbia for example, there is a disconnect between urban and rural British Columbians. We need to start educating people and helping them understand that there is a balance and that yes we harvest trees but for every tree we harvest we plant three.

Canada Action: What are some misconceptions that people have about forestry?

Carl: One of the big misconceptions that I always run into is that people think we are deforesting our land. That is simply not the truth. There are lots of rules, questioning, and a long list of requirements that need to be met before harvesting occurs. If you actually look up the meaning of deforestation, it is the removal of trees without intent to replant. Deforestation is our cities, roadways, parking lots, farmland. The forestry industry does not deforest. We replant what we harvest and we start over.

If you take a look across Canada there's 25 million hectares of protected forest. 15 million of that is right here in BC; we have 63% of the protected forests just in British Columbia. It’s quite substantial! There's more destruction of our forests by bugs, insects and forest fires - by far - than what we harvest in timber and we go back and replant those areas that we harvest.

What really scares me is that today it's only 50 jobs lost and next week it's only a hundred jobs, and then two weeks down the road it's another 500 jobs... and pretty soon if we continue to reduce these well paying jobs in our communities, it all adds up.  And all of a sudden, it’s 1500, 2000 or 3000 jobs lost. And then the jewellery store, sports store, car dealership is gone and the coffee shop is gone and it'll be death by a thousand cuts. And unfortunately, I think the mentality most people have is that “if it doesn’t affect me I don’t care.” And as a community we all have to care if it affects us all.

Canada Action: 100%. And that really applies to all resource dependent communities. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Carl:  I think the most important message would be that If you don't know something educate yourself.  If you don't understand forestry talk to a forestry worker or reach out to someone you know.  If you go on Google, please make sure it is a reliable source - there is just so much misinformation out there.

All forestry workers love our forests. They live, work and play in them.  They're not out there to destroy the environment, they're out there to make a living for their family. These are the same people who on the weekend take their family out to enjoy a campfire by a lake or go fishing in a river or sledding. They care as passionately if not more, about the forest than anyone living in a concrete jungle. So please take the time and understand what's going on, what is involved with responsible resource extraction and the way we do things here in Canada. We have some of the most stringent environmental rules in the world. We’re extremely environmentally responsible.

If there's any place in the world you want to get your resources, I would think it would be Canada. We play by the rules and we do things properly. We need to support our community. Without forestry in our town, on Vancouver Island or in British Columbia, if we don't recognize the importance of forestry, the province as we know it today will cease to exist.

Canada Action: Carl, it’s been a pleasure.  Thank you so much for your time today.

Carl: Thank you.

Do you know someone who works hard for Canada’s Natural Resource sector and should be featured in our “Supporter Spotlight” segment?  Tag us @canadaaction with the hashtag #inthespotlight with your nominees!