Stop Ocean City, New Jersey from Using Ancient Rainforest Timbers for Boardwalk Decking

ACTION ALERT

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet, Inc. //www.rainforestportal.org/
August 13, 2007

TAKE ACTION An important precedent must be set that industrial logging of ancient forests, even if FSC "certified", must end //www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=jersey_boardwalk

Ocean City, New Jersey is a seaside resort that has a 2.5 mile wooden boardwalk fronting the Atlantic Ocean... Citizens are campaigning to stop the city from using FSC certified ipê timbers for its current one block boardwalk re-construction project and for any future re-decking projects... In 1996, when Ocean City announced a plan to re-deck the entire boardwalk with ipê, a grassroots group formed to oppose the use of rainforest wood. After 22 months of successful campaigning the City Council adopted a Resolution in May 1997 which stated that they "...will no longer purchase tropical rain forest hardwood for the boardwalk in Ocean City"... Fast forward ten years to January 2007 and the issue of using ipê industrially harvested from ancient rainforests rears its ugly head again. But this time, the city presents ipê as an environmentally responsible choice as long as it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. While the evidence is mounting worldwide regarding major problems with the FSC's certification of ancient forest logging as "responsible" while implying environmental sustainability, the city uses the endorsement that major environmental organizations give to FSC certified products as justification for using ipê... Citizens have repeatedly requested a public forum to discuss the failures of FSC certification and the insufficiencies of the city’s materials analysis, but their requests have been ignored... Based upon false and misleading information from major environmental groups, the City of Ocean City is to purchase ancient rainforest wood in the name of environmental responsibility. In order to protect ancient forests, the people who live there, and global climate; this purchase must be stopped and an important precedent set that industrial scaled ancient forest logging must end forever.

TAKE ACTION NOW: //www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=jersey_boardwalk

DISCUSS ALERT: //www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2007/08/alert_stop_ocean_city_new_jers.asp

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ALERT UPDATE

RAINFOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY

World Protest Makes Ocean City Think Twice About Boardwalk

Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.

//www.rainforestportal.org /-- Rainforest Portal //www.rainforestportal.org/news/ -- Rainforest Newsfeed

September 14, 2007

OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

New Jersey based Friends of the Rainforest and Ecological Internet's campaign to stop the use of ancient rainforest timbers for boardwalk repairs is progressing nicely -- garnering media attention and already changing the city council's vote. An important precedent is being set that ancient rainforest timbers belong in rainforest canopies, not in construction projects and consumer products. You can still take action at: //www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=jersey_boardwalk

The crusade to keep ipê out of Ocean City's boardwalk reconstruction is a rejection of Forest Stewardship Council and big greens' efforts to certify and greenwash industrial ancient forest logging as being responsible, while falsely implying sustainability. First time logging of primary rainforests -- selective, certified, ecosystem based or otherwise -- results in an immediate huge release of carbon, permanent reductions in future carbon sink potential, and reductions in species numbers and diversity. One of the gravest obstacles to mitigating climate change, conserving ancient forests and achieving global ecological sustainability is the pernicious myth that selectively logging ancient forests (certified or not) is environmentally beneficial. It is NOT.

With just over 15% of the world's ancient forest existing in large, intact blocks; areas that are critical for continued functioning of ecosystems and the biosphere, what remains MUST be protected in an intact state that is free from all industrial activities. Ensuring the Earth's continued capacity to provide humanity and our sister species our habitat; including addressing climate change, ending the extinction crisis and maintaining freshwater resources, depends critically upon ending ancient forest logging and finding methods to compensate local peoples and governments for avoiding deforestation AND forest diminishment such as that wrought by "certified" logging.

Promising efforts to promote avoided deforestation through established carbon markets -- whereby governments and local peoples are paid for maintaining intact forests -- are deeply threatened by this false notion that selectively logging ancient forests can be done while maintaining many of their ecological values. Carbon payments for forest protection will only prove beneficial climatically and ecologically if the payments are for avoided deforestation AND diminishment -- that is, preservation rather than conservation, of all remaining ancient forests. Much confusion exists on this point, even amongst well-meaning forest conservationists, yet to suggest otherwise is to promote the next biofuels boondoggle; where the solution is as bad, or worse, as the original ecological crisis itself.

First time heavy and industrial selective logging of ancient forests is nearly as bad as outright deforestation in terms of reduction in carbon sequestration, loss of biodiversity and general change in ecosystem functionality. The World Bank and many world governments are joined by the Forest Stewardship Council, Greenpeace, WWF and Rainforest Action Network in falsely suggesting that ancient forests can be logged industrially in a manner that will not permanently disrupt their carbon sequestration and will not result in long term loss of biodiversity. If you support these organizations you profoundly personally responsible for the climate and biodiversity crises, and are stymying the last best chance to stop ancient forest logging and save the Earth.

And so we are making a stand against climatic and rainforest ecocide in Ocean City, New Jersey of all places! Should this misconceived use of ancient rainforests for ocean boardwalks progress, if you can, please join myself and others in possible non-violent direct action to stop the project sometime this fall. Time is running out to address the crises facing global climate, ecology and the biosphere. It is time to take a stand, speaking ecological truth, and placing our minds and bodies between ecosystems and their destroyers (however well intentioned but misinformed they may or may not be).

g.b.


To comment: //www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2007/09/world_protest_makes_ocean_city.asp


RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: World Protest Makes O.C. Think Twice About Boardwalk
Source: Copyright 2007, Associated Press Date: September 14, 2007

Battered by protests from environmentalists around the globe, and realizing the cost might be much higher than expected, officials in a New Jersey seaside resort are having second thoughts about their decision to buy wood from tropical rainforests to repair the boardwalk.

Earlier this year, the City Council voted to buy $1.1 million worth of Brazilian ipe to repair a block-long section of its boardwalk. But the outcry from residents and environmentalists reached around the world, and was a factor in the council reversing itself last month and calling for the contract to be scrapped.

Mayor Sal Perillo, however, insisted the wood will be bought and installed as planned, arguing that to break a lawfully approved contract could expose the city to a lawsuit and discourage other vendors from doing business with Ocean City.

That touched off a blizzard of e-mails from environmentalists urging Ocean City to scrap the rainforest wood plan in favor of plastic composite lumber or domestic wood that is easily replaceable.

In three weeks, nearly 50,000 missives have flooded Perillo's in-box from as far away as Australia, the Philippines, South Africa and New Zealand.

"I think it's somewhat silly in that it gets in the way of a legitimate discussion of the issue," Perillo said of the e- mail barrage. "What we did was environmentally responsible. The decision has been made."

Ten years ago, Ocean City voted never to use tropical rainforest wood again for its 2 1/2 mile-long boardwalk that is a mixture of ipe and domestic yellow pine, citing the damage that logging operations are doing to the Amazon. But in January, it decided that using wood certified as having been harvested responsibly would be OK.

Ipe is a flowering tree that towers over others in the forest canopy and can grow to 100 feet.

It is Brazil's largest timber export, 50 percent of which is sold to customers in the United States. Ipe has been used in boardwalk projects from coast to coast, including Atlantic City, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Miami Beach and Long Beach and Santa Monica, Calif.

Ocean City bought wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a group of industry and environmental groups who seek to improve forestry management practices. Certification means that loggers operate in ways designed to damage the ecosystem as little as possible, including not over-harvesting or wasting trees.

But environmental groups are split over whether that represents true progress or just a fig leaf covering for practices that still denude the rain forest.

The council relied heavily on the certification in voting to buy the ipe this year. That touched off months of protests by rainforest activists that included demonstrations on the boardwalk, and a boycott of Ocean City businesses.

Then in August, the council changed its mind and voted to scrap the contract for the ipe wood.

"It wasn't necessarily all the pressure from the rainforest people, although they were the ones who kept coming up with alternatives like plastic or black locust," a domestic tree that grows in abundance, said Councilman Roy Wagner. His change of heart tipped the council vote against ipe.

"Every time I threw what I thought was a roadblock in their path, they came back with answers that made a lot of sense," he said. "Our demand is a little drop in the bucket compared to the international demand, but in a city that calls itself `America's Greatest Family Resort,' we're sending a message that we're against tearing down the rainforest."

Rhonda VanWingerden, a local environmental leader, said Ocean City has a golden opportunity to not only save money (ipe is costlier in part because it is stronger and better able to support large crowed and vehicles), but also help save the planet.

"This could be the most triumphant use of environmentally friendly products ever, and they won't do it," she lamented.

Although he did not rule out other options for future boardwalk repairs, Perillo said the ipe wood will be delivered and installed in late fall.

That has protesters like Georgina Shanley vowing to do whatever it takes to stop the plan.

"We are considering stopping it physically from coming into Ocean City by standing in the middle of the road like that young man in Tiananmen Square in front of the tank," she said. "It has to be stopped."

--------

PRESS RELEASE

Ocean City, New Jersey Cancels Order for Rainforest Destruction to Fix Their Boardwalk

Victory for those working to end ancient rainforest logging, and a defeat for supporters of forest certification greenwashing, as an important precedent is set

January 18, 2008 By Ecological Internet, Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, +1 (920) 776- 1075, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

(Ocean City, New Jersey) -- The city council of Ocean City voted last night 6-0 to cancel a $1.1 million purchase of ipê timber originating in ancient rainforests. The timber was to be used to patch a one block stretch of Atlantic boardwalk. The purchase provoked outrage as it went against a ten-year old pledge by the council to not use rainforest timbers.

The mayor and others argued Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification ensured sustainability. Estimates are over 60% of FSC timber comes from first time logging of ancient forests, with claims only it is "well-managed". Such misleading statements setup a showdown with local group "Friends of the Rain Forest" and led them to a year of protest with support from Ecological Internet (EI) and others.

"EI's network sent over 100,000 protest emails from 80 countries highlighting the ecological truth that maintaining intact primary rainforests is a requirement to address climate change and achieve global ecological sustainability," explains Dr. Glen Barry. "The message is getting through -- to survive rainforest logging must end, with compensation to local peoples, and remaining rainforests protected and allowed to expand."

In recent weeks EI has significantly participated in rainforest victories from New York, to Papua New Guinea, and now New Jersey -- working successfully to end the evil of ancient rainforest logging. Dr. Barry notes "it is disappointing that Rainforest Alliance, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, WWF and other FSC supporters -- despite being targeted by this campaign -- were either on the other side of this debate or chose not to comment. Their greenwashing of ancient forest logging must end."

###ENDS###

The original alert can be found at: //www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=jersey_boardwalk



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