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MtnGoat
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PostWed Mar 27, 2002 10:48 am 
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Greens Don't See Forest for the Trees

By PATRICK MOORE, Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, is president of Greenspirit, an environmental consultant to government and industry.

It has become a principle of the environmental movement to insist that wood and paper products be certified as originating from sustained, managed forests. Movement members even created their own organization, the Forest Stewardship Council, to make the rules and hand out the certificates.

Lord help those who don't fall in line, as big-box retailers and builders discovered when Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network became their judge and jury--hanging corporate reputations from the rafters with the TV cameras rolling.

Many corporations felt compelled to accept restrictive buying policies for wood and paper products to demonstrate loyalty to the cause. This appears politically correct on the surface. Yet, as with so many environmental issues, it's not that simple, and the result may damage the environment rather than improve it. The environmental movement's campaign to force industry into accepting it as the only judge of sustainable forestry is pushing consumers away from renewable forest products and toward nonrenewable, energy-intensive materials such as steel, concrete and plastic.

Anti-forestry groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make endless and unreasonable demands restricting forestry practices. This is mainly why the Forest Stewardship Council has certified less than 2% of the wood and paper produced in North America.

Meanwhile, the same environmental groups won't acknowledge that some regions--such as California--already comply with government regulations that meet or exceed guidelines imposed by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Wood is the most renewable and sustainable of the major building materials. On all measures comparing the environmental effects of common building materials, wood has the least impact on total energy use, greenhouse gases, air and water pollution and solid waste.

So why isn't the environmental movement demanding that the steel and concrete industries submit to an audit for "sustainability"? Where's the green steel, concrete and plastic? These materials are nonrenewable, require vast amounts of energy to manufacture and recycle and are contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Why shouldn't steel and concrete manufacturers be required to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions or face boycotts, demonstrations and restrictions? Why does the environmental movement stand silent in the face of promotional campaigns by steel and concrete interests that leverage mythical environmental claims against wood for their own commercial benefit?

Because emotive images of forests sell memberships.

The environmental movement has unfortunately led the public into believing that when people use wood, they cause the loss of forests. This widespread guilt is misplaced. North America's forests are not disappearing. In fact, there is about the same amount of forest cover today as there was 100 years ago, even though we consume more wood per capita than any other region in the world. Isn't this proof positive that forests are renewable and sustainable?

When we buy wood, we are sending a signal to plant more trees to satisfy demand. If there were no demand for wood, landowners would clear away the forest and grow something else instead.

We have powerful tools at our disposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change. Grow more trees, and then use more wood as a substitute for materials like steel and concrete that are responsible for excessive emissions in the first place.

If the environmental movement would recognize this one fact, it would turn its anti-forestry policy on its head and redirect membership dollars to where they are most needed--promoting sound environmental choices."

http://www.latimes.com/news....pinions

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Timber Cruiser
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PostMon Apr 01, 2002 1:56 pm 
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Can't say much about those comments except Amen!  He's preaching to the choir in my case.

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"Logging encourages the maintenance of foilage by providing economic alternatives to development."
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Brian Curtis
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PostSun Apr 07, 2002 9:47 am 
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I know you are disappointed, Chris, that you couldn't get anybody to bite on this article. So for the interest of discussion, I guess I'll have to take it upon myself to point out a couple things.

Quote:
It has become a principle of the environmental movement to insist that wood and paper products be certified as originating from sustained, managed forests.

Having wood and paper products originate from sustained, managed forests makes a lot of sense to me.

Quote:
Movement members even created their own organization, the Forest Stewardship Council, to make the rules and hand out the certificates.

I bothered to go to the Forest Stewardship Council's web site and find out who was on the council. I discovered that their board is made up 3 "chambers" evenly divided between industry, environmental groups and social groups. The Economic Chamber: Northland Forest Products, Inc, Warm Springs Forest Products, Inc., The Collins Companies. The Environmental Chamber: National Wildlife Federation, NRDC, Forest Biodiversity Program, American Lands Alliance. The Social Chamber: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Consumer's Choice Council, and  chairperson Cecilia Danks. So the idea is that environmental groups work together with industry to certify sustainable timber supplies. The timber industry tried to administer their own competing certification program. Home Depot chose to use this one instead. Thats how the free market system works.

Quote:
Many corporations felt compelled to accept restrictive buying policies for wood and paper products to demonstrate loyalty to the cause. This appears politically correct on the surface. Yet, as with so many environmental issues, it's not that simple, and the result may damage the environment rather than improve it. The environmental movement's campaign to force industry into accepting it as the only judge of sustainable forestry is pushing consumers away from renewable forest products and toward nonrenewable, energy-intensive materials such as steel, concrete and plastic.

Huh? I wish he would support this assertion. I'm more likely to buy wood if I am assured it was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manor, not less likely. That is the idea here, to promote renewable resources, namely trees.

Quote:
Anti-forestry groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make endless and unreasonable demands restricting forestry practices. This is mainly why the Forest Stewardship Council has certified less than 2% of the wood and paper produced in North America.

Meanwhile, the same environmental groups won't acknowledge that some regions--such as California--already comply with government regulations that meet or exceed guidelines imposed by the Forest Stewardship Council.

They haven't finalized their standards for the region that includes California. I suggest anyone interested  go read the standard available here. If consumers demand certified wood then more companies will seek to become certified.

Quote:
Wood is the most renewable and sustainable of the major building materials. On all measures comparing the environmental effects of common building materials, wood has the least impact on total energy use, greenhouse gases, air and water pollution and solid waste.

But the greatest impact on fisheries and wilderness values.

Quote:
So why isn't the environmental movement demanding that the steel and concrete industries submit to an audit for "sustainability"? Where's the green steel, concrete and plastic? These materials are nonrenewable, require vast amounts of energy to manufacture and recycle and are contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

A good idea!  I see a lot of green groups promoting the use of recyclable materials such as the successful campaign to get McDonalds to use paper instead of styrofoam. To say that green groups are ignoring these issues flat out isn't true.

Quote:
Why shouldn't steel and concrete manufacturers be required to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions or face boycotts, demonstrations and restrictions? Why does the environmental movement stand silent in the face of promotional campaigns by steel and concrete interests that leverage mythical environmental claims against wood for their own commercial benefit?

Because emotive images of forests sell memberships.

Emotive images of polluting steel mills sell memberships, too. I don't see what is wrong with either, though. If I were running an environmental I'd certainly market myself with emotive images to sell memberships. That's just good marketing. Nothing wrong with that.

Quote:
The environmental movement has unfortunately led the public into believing that when people use wood, they cause the loss of forests. This widespread guilt is misplaced. North America's forests are not disappearing. In fact, there is about the same amount of forest cover today as there was 100 years ago, even though we consume more wood per capita than any other region in the world. Isn't this proof positive that forests are renewable and sustainable?

Now this is disingenuous. There may be the same amount of "forest cover" today as 100 years ago, but there aren't nearly as many "forests" or wilderness as there were 100 years ago. Much have been replaced by monoculture tree farms. These have their proper place for producing timber but they are not Forest. I've heard no one argue that trees are not sustainable and renewable, certainly not the Forest Stewardship Council at whom this piece is ostensibly directed.

Quote:
When we buy wood, we are sending a signal to plant more trees to satisfy demand. If there were no demand for wood, landowners would clear away the forest and grow something else instead.

True. By certifying good timber management practices it will reinstill consumer confidence in wood and promote its use. This certification idea seems like it would result in exactly what the author of this article wants.

Quote:
We have powerful tools at our disposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change. Grow more trees, and then use more wood as a substitute for materials like steel and concrete that are responsible for excessive emissions in the first place.

If the environmental movement would recognize this one fact, it would turn its anti-forestry policy on its head and redirect membership dollars to where they are most needed--promoting sound environmental choices."

From what I can find out about the Forest Stewardship Council it sounds like this is exactly what they are doing.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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