The power of participation


We strongly encourage people to read these blog posts, and especially to read and provide comments, because sometimes it’s in blog comments, rather than initial blog posts, that key issues are whittled into kernels of clarity — or exposed as extreme bias — for all to see and understand. Progress often has to overcome such bias.

It’s a sign of progress when environmentalists and industry work together to try to make sure any climate legislation that emerges from Congress includes strong incentives for forests and farms.

A March 23 post on the Climate Progress blog provides the latest coverage of efforts by the American Forest and Paper Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and others such as the Sierra Club to insist on including working forests in legislation being considered by the U.S. Senate.

The post helps reinforce a piece called “The energy fetish” that appeared in Seattle-based Grist and Washington, D.C.’s The Hill.

The authors of the Grist/Hill piece are Glenn Hurowitz, Washington Director of Avoided Deforestation Partners, and Stephen Lovett, a former VP of the American Forest and Paper Association. This kind of cooperation, by people who in years past might have been viewed as polar opposites on issues, still does not ring true for some people, as this excerpt from a comment from “mike roddy” on the Climate Progress article shows:

I didn’t bother to read this. Allowing someone from the Forest and Paper Association to provide advice on the best climate policy for our forests is a totally ridiculous idea.

…Loggers believe that the answer to any problem, including fire emissions and forest health, is to cut more trees.

Guess what: they are wrong, on every detail, all of the time.

A few other commenters chimed in with support for this ignorant thinking.  But author Hurowitz, who notes that he is “just as passionate” about protecting and restoring American forests, responded with some sanity:

… I think there is actual common ground here, rather than some negotiated solution (if you note the signatories to the letter, there are some pretty tough-minded green groups here). Forestry companies and landowners recognize that if you value the trees for their carbon, whether here or in the tropics, landowners and others can make more money from protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing forests than from unsustainable clearcuts. For the first time, the quest for prosperity will be aligned with protection of the Earth’s resources, not their destruction – and that’s a major and positive revolution in our world.”

Hurowitz also authored an earlier piece on Grist, “The jobs are in the trees,” which focused on how sustainable forestry management should be a focus of job creation efforts by leaders in Washington, D.C.

A snippet:

With Congress and the White House considering spending scarce dollars to jump-start employment, they’ll need to get the biggest jobs bang for the buck to give Americans confidence that they’re spending our money wisely. Probably the biggest jobs generator of all, and one of the least recognized, is investing in forest and land restoration and sustainable management, with conservation, watershed projects, and park investment coming close behind.

So despite the deniers, the value of working forests are immense, proven and needed.

While some polling has shown that the majority of people recognize the value of and need for a forest products industry, there will always be those who, like those who posted the negative comments referenced above, have a strong bias against any forest management.  They don’t even want to consider anything to the contrary, and of course are free to express their opinions, as we all are. But that means working forest supporters must also be involved in the discussion and make themselves heard.

So we encourage everyone who reads this to reach out to colleagues, friends, people in positions of influence — anyone you know or know of who either cares or should care about sustaining working forests — and suggest they log on to this website, sign up, read and participate.