Why coal matters to forest lovers

Written by Brant Olson

Topics: Finance, Oil

share this story
facebook twitter email stumble upon
Get Energy Alerts

Some folks are still scratching their heads about why RAINFOREST Action Network is so concerned about oil and coal.  Why waste our time on fossil fuels, they say, when forests around the world continue to fall victim to clear-cut logging?

On one hand, the answer is simple: global warming.  On the other hand, it’s hard to understand the relationship between a power plant and a lumber mill without a good example that connects the dots.

Doug Struck does just that in today’s Wash Post. Walking the frozen tundra of Manitoba’s Northern Boreal Forest, he learns from scientists, foresters and Indigenous elders how global warming is exposing Canada’s Boreal Forest to more fires, disease and salvage logging-a destructive loop that multiplies the release of heat-trapping gasses. Related impacts of global warming are playing out in the Amazon and around the world.  

So why do we do what we do? Because coal-fired power plants in Texas, gas-guzzlers in Detroit and loggers in Canada and Tazmania are all making the globe hotter and it’s the banks calling the shots.

5 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Japhet says:

    Way to connect the dots…thanks for the post!

  2. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    Umm… lots of rainforests in Manitoba. Are the threats upon rainforests so unique and persistent that they are worthy of their own organization? RAN should change their name or do more, or at least some, work directly on rainforest conservation.

  3. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    One other thing. Perhaps you could explain how “Preserving Ancient Old-Growth” on the left of your home page is compatible with “promot(ing) sustainable logging”. Do you understand what “preservation” means in the environmental tradition. So concerned about carbon is RAN, how about the carbon released when ancient old growth is logged however carefully for the first time. There are some serious inconsistencies in your organization’s rhetoric that I think comes from lack of ecological science knowledge by its staff. I refuse to accept that anyone could actually believe industrially logging forests, certification or not, does not destroy forever the ancient forest including its carbon holding abilities. The consistent message is end all ancient old growth forests.

  4. Joey Kurtz says:

    Look Dr. Barry – this idea of yours that that the only way to save rainforests is through conservation sounds more like an ivory tower philosophy argument than one grounded in the real world. Global warming is the largest threat to biodiversity, and kudos to RAN for taking it on. I’m a diver, and I dearly wish the coral reef people would take on climate change with the same voracity as these rainforest people have.

  5. Brant says:

    Thanks for the feedback Dr. Barry. I understand that you don’t agree with some of our statements about “sustainable logging”. I also think that we have the same goals in mind, and that we’re both doing a pretty good job of getting us there.

Leave a Comment Here's Your Chance to Be Heard!

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.