By: BC Government News
When the holiday season rolls around, it’s easy to forget that without B.C. resources such as wood products and minerals, many of the gifts you see would not be sitting under your Christmas tree.
B.C. wood products play a large role in maintaining the joy of the holiday season. From gifts and the environment in which you open them to holiday activities and employment, evidence of B.C.’s forest industry is all around you.
Forestry is the main driver in more than 40% of regional economies in B.C., and sustains direct jobs for more than 60,000 British Columbians in areas such as forest management, silviculture and manufacturing – generating more than $12 billion in provincial exports in 2014.
Feel like curling up by the fire or wood stove with a hot apple cider? Whether you are using split wood or pressed logs, that lovely heat keeping you warm can be credited to B.C.’s incredible forests. And the shelving you grabbed your mug off just might be a B.C. wood product, too.
If you purchased that wooden picture frame or hand-carved gift at a locally owned retailer there’s a good chance you’ve supported B.C’s forest industry.
How about the tree that your gifts are placed under? There are more than 200 Christmas tree growers in the province that help provide private vendors with the hundreds of thousands of live Christmas trees that adorn British Columbian living rooms every year. This is in addition to the thousands of permits issued for residents looking to pick and harvest their own Christmas tree from Crown land.
Perhaps you and your loved ones are looking to relax over the holidays by taking a stroll through one of the many forested parks on provincial Crown land. The snow-covered branches and wildlife activity all tie into the provincial focus on sustainability. In fact, 52 million hectares of B.C.’s land base has been independently certified as sustainably managed – more than any other jurisdiction in the world. This means that the superior B.C. wood products you enjoy over the holidays are produced to some of the highest international standards of environmental sustainability.
Resources mined right here in B.C. – like gold, copper, silver, lead, zinc and molybdenum – also help make up many of the Christmas gifts that British Columbians purchase each year, as well as the cars and planes used to transport them and help build the stores that sell them.
These resources also help supply more than 30,000 British Columbians with well-paying jobs in B.C.’s mining, mineral exploration and related sectors, providing an average annual salary and benefits of more than $100,000.
Hoping for something shiny under the tree this year? Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to receive some of the nearly $460 million worth of gold produced this past year in B.C. But it’s not just used for jewellery – B.C.’s gold is also used to make smartphones, space satellites, and lifesaving medical treatment and equipment.
Or maybe you’ve got your eyes on a new tablet? These devices are created using a variety of different materials, including silver, and more than 25% of all industrial silver is incorporated into electronic equipment. B.C. has a large number of undeveloped silver deposits and has been producing silver since the late 19th century – generating over $84 million in silver this last year.
And you can thank the thermal and electrical conductivity of copper for keeping those holiday meals warm for your family and friends. British Columbia produced over $2 billion worth of copper in 2014, much of which is used in electrical conductors and everyday appliances.
No matter what British Columbians are eating, giving or receiving this holiday season, B.C.’s resources play a large role in making our holidays possible.