The State of our Forests

Forests, once considered natures factories producing a seemingly endless supply of wood, are now considered as “ecosystems” providing a range of economic, industrial, cultural and social benefits along with their environmental benefits and services. We rely on the forests of the world for food, medicine, firewood, soil, rehabilitation, agriculture, shelter and water, just to name a few. (the slave and victim for  our commodities ) These ecosystems have become closely linked at achieving social equity and economic growth in many developing nations. Timber is the primary income for many tropical countries, with planted forests ( plantations of single species trees) being the largest contributor to their economies. Containing eighty percent of the worlds biomass, forests extract vast amounts of atmospheric carbon making them our best defense against climate change. The following satellite images clearly demonstrate what we continue to do to these ecosystems

bc-forest

Only minutes from were I live, with logging being done by a company under FSC certification. Clear-cut areas range from 1 to 15 acre blocks.


ontario

Typical clear-cut logging practices in northern Ontario


jungle

Logging practices within the Amazon Rain-forests creating virtual dead zones


amazon

A view of BR163 ” the Soy Highway” or a better name would be “The Road to Destruction” clearly showing the extent of devastating encroachment into the Amazonian jungle.

These satellite images are several years old, taken in 2003 or 2004 with ongoing logging since then within all these regions, including large sectors of this cutting under FSC certification. One acre of forest is lost every second within the tropical regions of the world. Consider an acre is about the size of a football field, not including the end-zones This statistic does not include the cutting that takes place in the remaining forests of the world, where so called management is generally implemented.

Millions of dollars are being spent on studies and research regarding global warming and climate change. With the evidence and reasons blatantly obvious when will society realize we must finally take the step from  being aware to literally taking action?

Being Green
Being Green

The news media and marketers have overwhelmingly turned environmentalism into fashion thus distracting the population from the serious issues of environmental degradation and global warming. With environmentalism being high profile, in part due to the success of Al Gore’s 2006 “Inconvenient Truth” documentary, the mainstream green for the most part say that buying products promoting eco-friendly is a good first step. How ridiculous is it to tell people to consume more in order to reduce impact? By buying something green (or not) with the assumption that we are solving global environmental problems is a complete misconception, the most significant part to the problem is consumption. The genuine solution is to reduce ones consumption of goods and resources. Reports show that many products marketed as green pump more carbon into the atmosphere, not to mention other effluent and environmental stress, than choosing something more modest or simply nothing at all. The consumer has embraced green living, and for a great part the mainstream green movement has embraced green consumerism. We must question the notion that we can avert global warming by purchasing so called earth friendly products while the overall cumulative effect of our consumption remains enormous and hazardous.

“There is a very common mind-set right now which holds that all that we’re going to need to do to avert the large-scale planetary catastrophes upon us is make slightly different shopping decisions,”   Alex Steffen“

To many people believe we can buy our way to heaven, so to speak, along with the overwhelming assumption that there is an easy way out.

Less will accomplish more and informed choices must become the mainstay within our daily lives, along with common sense which is far from common these days.

Green?

Simply put the “green” movement was supposed to raise awareness of the global environmental issues and to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint. This was not always such a big contention,  however over the course of time it has become increasingly complicated and misunderstood.  In order to understand what the term “green” implies an understanding of sustainability is required.  Caution must be used when the word “sustainable” and its variations are used. It is impossible to maintain sustainability within a finite system. When considering our global situation, as the number of consumers increases so does the amount of total consumption to the point where all essential resources will be consumed.

The label of “green” implies doing things that will reduce  and improve the methods of our overall consumption. However we must understand that even with this connotation we will reach a point where all the resources have been consumed. The only option within a finite system is to reduce the overall number of consumers.

The so-called “sustainable”/”green”culture in the world amounts to finding ways of maintaining the levels of consumption to which we have grown accustomed to. How many of you actually confront the fact that real sacrifices are coming whether we like it or not and that technology can not save us?  It is in our human nature to avoid personal conflicts, we are all guilty of this.

As the economies around the world weaken and consumers look to cut costs, the banner of “green”/”sustainable” environmentalism has been adopted everywhere. With so much “green washing” , circulating propaganda rather than actually being “green” is the precedent. Some of the most polluting industries are among the loudest to vaunt their “green” credentials.  Waves of “green” information are available with special interest groups and conferences of all types propagating information and awareness. Governing bodies have been implemented in response to this overwhelming deluge of information. Up to this point most of the effort is directed  towards creating awareness rather than direct action to deal with the matters at hand. Let’s be reminded that “Awareness is not action”

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Nation Tribal Prophecy

This prophecy is reminiscent of a Dr Seuss book and movie I recall from 1971, The Lorax, which chronicles humanities unrestrained greed within our industrialized societies and the plight of the environment. It is an excellent movie for both young and old.

Every facet of our daily lives impacts the environment. Our current ecological footprint exceeds the carrying capacity of the Earth by 1.3 times! With an ever increasing world population the distribution of the worlds resources will become more and more constrained. With this in mind the  requirement for more sustainable patterns of consumption and production are crucial. In order to create “Sustainability” the absorption capacity and replenishment rate of our biosphere must be at the least in equilibrium or above the rate of our consumption and production. Currently and persistently we are no where near any form of “Sustainability”. It is obvious that there are limits to the capacity of the earth’s ecosystems in providing resources and absorbing our pollution, How is it possible then to maintain economic progress and well being for the long term without reaching our limited capacity?    There are and always will be multiple views on reality, however it is critical that the debating is left for later and we give the benefit of any doubt to our planet and take action now.

This is the legacy our FSC certified logging companies leave in their wake. We can do better!

Here is the “Must Do” list that can help enhance our environment and future.

  • Demand clear and concise information based on facts and not conjectures or assumptions. Educate yourself!
  • Change our consumption patterns “NO EXCUSES!”
  • Use less to produce more
  • Use completely with no waste.
  • Change policy to stimulate the enhancement of our planet. As the citizens of this world we must take a leading role in order to provide the path our leaders must follow. In other words “live by example”.  And again ” NO EXCUSES”
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