Neither an expert in biology nor in the environment, I reflect on the issues of our society and on a smaller scale, those of my adopted territory, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Strongly shaken by the question of the protection of various species, including the woodland and mountain caribou, the region will know, next June, not only the strategy of the Government of Quebec on the protection of the habitat of the famous cervid, but also the response of the Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault.

Remember that this final step is in line with the report tabled by the Independent Commission on Woodland and Mountain Caribou last August, to which the Government of Quebec responded by committing to greater proactivity.

When I read and reread recent La Presse reports on the issue on April 11 (“Mayors in the service of private enterprise?”1) and April 18 (“Forest cutting in a protected area project” 2), I thought to myself, “the carrots are done.” Clearly, the forest industry will undergo a major transformation in a context where the urgency to act in environmental matters is flagrant, but in which the issue is still the subject of a powerful division where completely divergent interests bring to light foreground of scientific data that are both convincing and contested, visions of the development and exploitation of natural resources that are at first sight irreconcilable, important reminders from Aboriginal communities and the avoidance behavior of the Quebec ministers concerned.

For the metropolitan reader, it is probably easy to choose sides, while for those from a forest region like mine, the thing turns out to be a little more complex and nuanced.

The economic activity generated contributes, in large part, to the vitality of our territory. With only a few weeks to go, few words have been devoted to the future of our regional population. Heir to a way of life that revolves around the forest and agriculture, deeply attached to its forest, its lakes and its rivers, our population is not resistant to the protection of its environment. From this perspective, it seems legitimate to me that these same people are concerned about the future impacts in this area, including those inherent to jobs.

What saddens me in the treatment of the question of the protection of species and territories is the evacuation or the absence of a global vision which takes into account a frank will of a population to contribute to it. while predicting the actual socio-economic impacts for a region. From this perspective, why not ask the question in this way from the start? How can we successfully keep forest communities fully active socio-economically and culturally while meeting environmental imperatives?