Forest Protection Blog

« CALL FOR PAPERS: Announcing Major Kerala, India Ecology Conference | Main | ECOLOGY SCIENCE: Old Forests, Kerala India's Elephants, and the Biosphere »

Share on Facebook |

December 6, 2012

RELEASE: Victory as Ecological Internet Applauds Greenpeace's End to Greenwash of Canadian Old-Growth Logging

After years of greenwashing Canada and the world's "certified" old-growth forest logging as sustainable, and cutting inside deals with industrial loggers, Greenpeace's rejection of their own logging deal in Canada shows they may be poised to start working to protect – rather than log – Earth's last primary forests. Standing old forests are vital for local advancement and the environment – and old-growth forest logging must end to maintain local, regional and global climate, ecosystems, and our one shared biosphere.

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Such sensitive asses: piles of clearcut old-growth to be made into toilet paper with Greenpeace's endorsement

(Canada) – Today Greenpeace Canada announced it is withdrawing from the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement [search] which it secretly negotiated and endorsed in 2010, and which relegates 43 million hectares of Canada’s old growth Boreal forests to industrial logging, for a temporary moratorium and vague promises of future caribou habitat protection elsewhere. Not surprisingly, as Ecological Internet predicted at the time [1], these promises have been violated. Greenpeace itself now alleges the largest destroyer of Canada's boreal forests, Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitibiBowater) has been cutting new logging roads into caribou habitat in five sites in the northern parts of the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region of Quebec [2].

Ecological Internet applauds Greenpeace for admitting its error, and demands that – in Canada and globally – they stop secretly negotiating deals with industrial loggers, stop greenwashing primary forest logging as being sustainable, and resign from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) effective immediately. Since 2008, Ecological Internet has been protesting Greenpeace's incautious support for FSC certified primary forest logging, and ill-conceived policies in the Canadian boreal in particular. Greenpeace is a long-time supporter of old-growth forest logging, claiming as a founder, past chairman of the Board, and long-time membership in the FSC that it is sustainable. FSC greenwashes old-growth logging across an area two times the size of Texas to meet growing demand for "green" timbers [3].

Greenpeace's campaign work in the Canadian boreal forests has long been a muddle. In 2009 they prematurely abandoned their Kleercut campaign against Kleenex old-growth logging, applauding Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification of old-growth forest clearcutting for toilet paper, to which Ecological Internet's global network responded with hundreds of thousands of protest emails noting Greenpeace must have sensitive asses [4]. Then in 2010 Greenpeace, along with several other supporters* [5] of industrial old-growth logging (which they claim if just done carefully enough, is sustainable) negotiated in secret a deal that greenlighted an old-growth logging free-for-all in the Canadian boreal, discontinuing all protest campaigns in return for a pocket full of mumbles.

At the time, Ecological Internet (EI) President, Dr. Glen Barry, labeled the agreement "disgraceful", saying it "traded temporary, vague protections for business as usual industrial forestry across huge expanses of primary and old growth forests... Greenpeace's commitment to 'sustainable' and 'ecosystem based' forest management—for consumer items including toilet paper and lawn furniture from old forests—is an ecological crime, as we know we have already lost more primary forests than necessary to maintain global ecosystems and the biosphere."

Commenting upon today's good news, and change of direction for Greenpeace's Canadian boreal campaign, Dr. Barry says "Having given up on their Canadian boreal forest agreement which greenwashed old-growth logging, maybe now Greenpeace can resign from FSC and join the rest of the global grassroots forest movement working to protect all standing old forests. The science has moved well beyond Greenpeace 1990s-era claims of sustainable old-growth logging, and local advancement as well as global ecology depend upon ending old-growth logging. Local protection and community based eco-forestry are the solutions to global forest sustainability."

Greenpeace's announcement comes on the same day as a new study in the leading academic journal "Science" finds that old trees found in old-growth forests are dying and being lost throughout the world [6]. Dr. Glen Barry will be convening an academic conference in Kerala, India starting next week where he will be presenting a scientific paper highlighting the urgency for global ecological sustainability of protecting more than 50% of global land area – including all remaining old-growth forests - as protected areas and agro-ecological ecosystems [7].

### MORE ###

The Canadian Boreal Forest is North America’s largest primary forest, holding massive amounts of water, threatened wildlife and migratory birds, and containing 25% of the world's remaining intact ancient forests. It is also the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing the equivalent of 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Globally 60% of boreal forests have been diminished and fragmented, largely from logging resulting in more fires.

Ecological Internet and allies vigorously condemn the agreement's greenwash endorsement of continued ancient boreal forest logging, largely to make throw away paper items. It completely fails to understand that all primary and old growth forests are endangered and of high conservation value. Instead the agreement perpetuates the ecologically criminal myth that old forests can and should be industrially logged for the first time in an environmentally acceptable manner. The agreement uses fancy, meaningless worlds like “ecosystem-based” and “sustainable forest management” to describe first time industrial logging of primary forests for toilet paper and other throw-away consumer items.

Old forests must be protected and restored for global ecological sustainability. Forests logged industrially for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics. Real solutions to the Boreal forest/paper crisis require shrinking demand, increasing recyclables, and only accessing new fiber from regenerating secondary forests and mixed species, non-toxic, locally supported plantations.

EI calls upon Greenpeace to immediately cease and desist globally from negotiating agreements with industry that continue the production of throw away consumer items from Earth's dwindling old forests. Ecological Internet calls upon Greenpeace to work for full protection of primary forests, restoration of old growth forests, and dramatic reduction in paper and timber use globally. And for Gaia's sake, Greenpeace must give up on certified green old-growth timbers, and resign once and for all from the failed FSC experiment. Ecological Internet’s message remains end primary and old-growth forest logging.

### ENDS ###

[1] RELEASE: Greenpeace Partners with Industry Logging Canadian Boreal Forests, Ecological Internet, May 21, 2010 http://forests.org/blog/2010/05/release-greenpeace-partners-wi.asp

[2] Greenpeace says U.S. logging company has broken landmark boreal forest agreement, Mongabay, December 6, 2012, http://news.mongabay.com/2012/1206-hance-greenpeace-boreal.html

[3] EARTH MEANDERS: The Great Rainforest Heist, Ecological Internet, April 16, 2012, http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2012/04/earth_meanders_the_great_rainf.asp - How environmental groups like Greenpeace have gone bad and greenwash logging Earth’s last primary old forests.

[4] Action Alert: Tell Greenpeace: Toilet Paper Consumption from Canada's Ancient Boreal Forests Must End, Ecological Internet, August 10, 2009. http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=gp_ancient_forests - People from 89 countries sent 337,694 protest emails to Greenpeace, we never heard back.

[5] Environmental organization that signed to the agreement include: Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), the David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign.

The companies that signed the agreement include: AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F.F. Soucy, Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd, NewPage Port Hawkesbury Ltd, Paper Masson Ltee, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd, Weyerhauser Company Limited−all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.

[6] Global decline of big trees in old-growth forests worrying, argue scientists, December 6, 2012. http://news.mongabay.com/2012/1206-big-old-trees.html

[7] Kerala Eco Conference, http://keralaecoconference.org/ - The First International Law Conference of the KLA on Conservation of Forests, Wild Life and Ecology organized by the Kerala Law Academy and CALSAR will be held at the Kerala Law Academy campus in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India from 15.12.2012 to 17.12.2012. The theme of the First International Conference 2012 is "The Legal Regime and Measures for Conservation of Bio Diversity and Protection of Ecological Balance of Western Ghats".

*An earlier version of this release incorrectly asserted that Rainforest Action Network was a member of the agreement. We have grown so accustomed to RAN's greenwash of primary forest logging, that we failed to recall that they were not a public supporter of the agreement. We regret the error.