Old Forests, REDD Rage and Earth Revolution

EARTH MEANDERS 2.0

Earth and her humanity need old forests to exist. And all enabling their destruction, including potential carbon markets paying for 'sustainable forest management' in primary forests, are legitimate targets for an Earth Revolution.

June 30, 2009

By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk, //www.ecoearth.info/newsdesk/
//www.ecoearth.info/earthmeanders/

For too long those feeding upon the trough of "sustainable" forestry have been perpetuating the myth that primary and old growth forests can and should be harvested using "Sustainable Forest Management" (SFM) techniques. Old Forests are key to ecosystem, biodiversity, human and the Earth System's survival. Along with other intact natural terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitats; old forests are the internal organs of the Planet and regulate the Earth System to maintain conditions conducive to life. Primary forests logged for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics.

I am stunned, dumfounded and enraged at the wholesale selling out of the climate and forest, led by big environmental NGOs (BINGOs). The latest positive idea for an ecologically sustainable Earth -- Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Diminishment (REDD) -- to pay for ancient forest protection with carbon monies, is at this very moment being watered down to mean business as usual first time logging of primary forests that forever destroys ecosystems and habitats. Like "sustainable development" and "certified forestry", the REDD concept of paying for protection of old forests' carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystem is being taken over by industry.

Current thinking is that REDD will not primarily pay for avoided deforestation -- that is keeping and benefiting locally from standing old forests -- but instead pushes long-failed and mythical "sustainable forest management" in the world's remaining dwindling primary forests. Latest REDD proposals as part of the UN climate policy process focus upon paying for everything but keeping old forests standing. I am absolutely appalled at the environmental movement for rolling over on climate offsets in general, and their tolerance or promotion of "sustainable forest management" for the world's remaining primary forests, rather than strict protection.

I am enraged and indignant. Well known NGO's obstinate support for Forest Stewardship Council's certification of first time primary forest logging as "well-managed", while implying sustainability, has set the stage for industrial logging to be falsely marketed as a climate change solution. On the back of NGO greenwashing, first time industrial logging of primary forests is now claimed to be beneficial to climate, never mind that most timber products are in the landfill decomposing within years, and that current and future forest carbon stores are reduced for millennia.

Nothing fills me with such rage as the selling out of ancient life giving forests by greens and BINGOs. Under REDD+ UN climate proposals, sustainable forest management, clearing of primary forests to be replaced by plantations, and selective logging of never before industrially harvested forests, could all be granted carbon credits. To solve climate change, your tax monies are to be used to pay to log the last primary and old growth forests which hold and remove unbelievably vast amounts of carbon. This is like being against slavery and committing to treating your slaves better at the same time.

Old forests make Earth habitable. The fact that such an ecological ignorant and ludicrous notion as logging old forests with carbon monies for alleged climate benefits is being entertained illustrates clearly the failure of Western democratic consumption system. Along with other political signals, such as ridiculously low carbon emission reduction targets being set by rich industrial economies, emerging economies refusal to reduce emissions, as well as a clear lack of understanding how these targets will be met within the dominant economic growth paradigm, all indications are that current prevailing economic and government systems are inadequate and are unable to respond to looming ecological collapse and end of being.

Old forests are our home. We and many species have evolved there or nearby, and are utterly dependent upon their carbon storage, biodiversity, soil, water, wildlife, rain and other ecosystem processes they provide. Earth is faced with an unprecedented emergency as its surface is scoured of life and the ecologically cumulative biosphere collapses. Nothing impacts climate, water or oceans more than denuding natural forests. To advocate cutting down the last bits of old forests that allow us to live, to be paid for by money to address climate change, is an outrageous crime against humanity that cannot go unchallenged.

I am absolutely appalled at the environmental movement for rolling over on demanding sufficient climate policy. The forest movement has been piddling about with certified forests, once off protests, demonstration projects and market campaigns for decades. Specifically, their promotion of industrial scaled "certified" or "sustainable" forest management of old forests, rather than strict protection and local community eco-forestry, illustrates the death of ecological science based free thinking adequate to solve the Earth crisis on hand. And meanwhile Earth continues to be scraped of its forest skin.

The degree of corporate collaboration (including by BINGOS) to find ways to profit financially from ecological Armageddon is sickening. It is this desire for endless profit that has brought us to the edge of global ecocide. Any organization, individual, company, government, BINGO or other espousing industrial first time logging of remaining primary and old growth forests is a criminal and liable. They do not understand the imperatives of ecological science, and that our way of life is destroying the ecosystems required for our and all life. And as such they are legitimate targets for protests of many sorts.

I have come to believe the only way to bring about global ecological sustainability will be an Earth Revolution to overthrow the whole stinking and unsustainable system of growth in economy, population and inequitable consumption. We are failing to maintain Earth's ecological infrastructure, and it is now time to seriously raise our game and only pursue what is necessary to ensure humanity and Gaia's shared survival.

Human survival depends upon paying local peoples and governments to protect and restore old forests, while helping local peoples and governments benefit from them remaining standing. If REDD is not gotten right at Copenhagen (and ambitious short term emissions reductions targets set), than the only manner to achieve global ecological sustainability will be to overthrow the industrial growth machine. Any such Stewardship Revolution would be well advised to focus upon those that continue antiquated processes of burning and cutting Earth to death. Those scouring the Earth of biological life must no longer go unpunished. Whatever it takes, old forest logging and other industrial destruction must end now.

Failure at Copenhagen and immediately after to protect old forests, put in place immediate emissions reductions, and urgently address over-population and inequitable consumption will mean our only chance of ecological survival is revolutionary action. If international efforts to address climate change instead intend to clear the last remnants of an intact global ecosystem, they will need to be resisted using all means necessary. We may or may not choose to wage war upon those we know are destroying being, but failure at Copenhagen will make violent revolution THE only way to save a habitable Earth populated by complex life including humans. For life and Earth, it is time to revolt.

Discuss this essay:
//www.ecoearth.info/blog/2009/06/old_forests_redd_rage_and_eart.asp



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