Environmental activist organization Earth First held a protest against commercial logging of national forests Monday, July 12, outside of the U.S. Forest Service office on Zillicoa Street in Asheville, N.C. One protester chained himself to the Forest Service door; others waved signs, yelled, chanted and drummed.
For more on the particular timber issue Earth First! was protesting, see the Xpress Green Scene article, “As the Globe Turns” (July 7).
Photos by Jonathan Welch
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60 thoughts on “Earth First protest outside The US Forest Service office”
Well this is sure to win people over to their cause!
I wish they’d have put the word out they were doing that. I totally would have been there.
At this point in the game, harvesting a last vestige of something that represents old growth is ridiculous.
The so-called “US Forest Service” is bureaucracy cover for a BIG FAT lumber salesman in the service of wood product industry. Let there be no mistake, the “US Forest Service” is not there for a forest.
It’s wonderful someone with gall has stepped forward to point out the error being made on a remarkable, precious, irreplaceable place.
This ain’t farm land, folks. It’s one of the last places remaining of what this place should look like.
“Not one Stick”?
Clearly, these people know very little about forest ecology, or proper forest maintenance. But i guess they like to think they do.
It’s these kinds of broad, incorrect generalization that marginalize Earth First as the wacko leftist organization it generally has become.
Harvesting trees from the forest is good for the forest. Our National Forests should not be viewed as a museum.
Looks like the ecoterrorists have pitched their tents in Asheville now. I suppose they are looking for their five minutes of fame. I just hope no workers here suffer injury at the hands of these lunatics while trying to provide for their families. Making an idol of nature at the expense of human life is indicative of a warped set of priorities!
I wanted to go and help fight deforestation but I simply couldn’t find my dirty, black skinny jeans anywhere. Bummer.
“…these people know very little about forest ecology, or proper forest maintenance.
Harvesting trees from the forest is good for the forest.”
There are some situations where logging can be “good for the forest” but those seem to be few and far between. Some of the country’s top scientists have been calling for an end to the destruction of our dwindling forests for years, and the situation hasn’t gotten anything but worse:
“As conservation-minded scientists with many years of experience in biological sciences and ecology,” the letter (to Bush in 2002) says, “we are writing to bring your attention to the need to protect our national forests. Logging our national forests has not only degraded increasingly rare and valuable habitat, but also numerous other services such as recreation and clean water.”
…Well known scientist signers include Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University professor and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Dr. Anne Ehrlich, associate director of Stanford University’s Center for Conservation Biology, and Dr. Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and recipient of the 2000 President’s National Medal of Science.
“During the past several decades,” the scientists wrote, “our national forests have suffered from intense commercial logging. Today almost all of our old growth forests are gone and the timber industry has turned our national forests into a patchwork of clearcuts, logging roads, and devastated habitat.”
…in practice, the scientists and conservation groups say, the timber industry has turned America’s publicly owned national forests into a patchwork of clearcuts and logging roads. “Commercial logging, subsidized by American taxpayers, drains nutrients from the soil, washes topsoil into streams, destroys wildlife habitat and intensifies the severity of forest fires,” the groups say.”
The notion that “harvesting trees from the forest is good…” cannot be substantiated as a general rule, and those scientists who understand the issues do not support that view. The logging industry is in fact decimating our few remaining forests (and it’s a global problem).
[b]The notion that “harvesting trees from the forest is good…” cannot be substantiated as a general rule, and those scientists who understand the issues do not support that view. The logging industry is in fact decimating our few remaining forests (and it’s a global problem). [/b]
I’m not saying commercial logging is benign. I’m saying over-simplifications like ‘not one stick’ imply a level of ignorance as to how a forest actual works. Too many people think of the forest as some sort of foreign entity, that must be kept at arms length. That is nonsense. Ecology is a LIVING thing, not a museum.
Wonder if any of these people have ever planted a tree?
Wonder how many different kinds of oaks they can identify and which are native to WNC?
Wonder if they can tell us how many acres of trees in WNC have been sacrificed to development vs. how many acres have been logged?
Wonder if they know what cohort planting and harvesting means? How about variable density thinning?
Wonder what Rachel Carson would think of this group?
This kind of noisy anarchist protest is counterproductive to the mission of Earth First and the good work for which it was known in its early years.
Agreed that presentation is HUGELY lacking in this – and usually any earthfirst protest. Sure – protest, its your right, but when you show up dressed as this, looking punk and such – it actually hurts the idea of protecting not just forests – but old growth, which is in the Globe timber sale. Sadly earthfirst is more of a social club that annoys and confuses people who might otherwise agree with them, by their actions (and B.O). They’d be wise to put on suits and meet face to face, maturely, and as adults and concerned citizens who OWN the public lands, as we all do.
My training is forestry so I can assure you that timbering is only ‘good’ for forests when its being done to restore, not get timber from forests to mimic “canopy gap formation” – the driver or eastern forest tree growth in addition to fire to a lesser degree.
Restoration would be done largely by using fire on dry, southfacing ridges & upper slopes, and mimicking canopy gaps throughout the forest by creating countless standing and fallen dead trees – leaving them onsite. This would be done in order to move the forest canopy back toward its original or pre-Columbian condition (though some of those types are gone now like American chestnut forests). But is USFS doing much of this? Fire, yes – true restoration, not much.
“Golfphychology” might kwow about whacking balls around clearcuts, but timbering usually isn’t at all good for forests, especially with massive clearcuts which don’t even have a natural comparison (hurricane, fire, tornado – in those cases the biomass stays onsite.)
If USFS really thought dropping trees was valuable in and of itself – and without their remvoval, which is THE driver of eastern N.American forests for oh, millions of years – then USFS would occassionally suggest doing this – but they never do.
Timing is also an issue – the exact same 50-acre cut has FAR greater impact between April & June when tropical migratory songbirds have flown 1000’s of miles back to their EXACT SAME TERRITORY…set up a nest and then bang, USFS hired loggers – who have zero overhead here – come in and drop all those trees, 100’s of adult birds flee their nests & eggs which drop, are killed and the forest-interior birds continue to decline in that location for the next 50-75 years. Additionally – that same cut done in the growing season is a massive hit to trees actively pumping nutrients up & down their stems daily compared to doing that cut during leaf-off season when the system is dormant or ‘hardened off’. The level of systemic microbial invaders that can thus enter broken off and damaged trees left in the cut is huge – a blow to the system trying to restore itself.
Besides – the contractors who come in to do this work often never clean their equipment and they are then invading the forest with exotic invasive seed stocks from their previous timber slaughter somewhere else.
What’s really sad with USFS is that they could get far more timber, and much higher quality timber, just by cutting trees within 200 to 300 feet distance from their 1000’s of miles of existing gravel “system” roads – without ever having to build any more multi-million dollar roads back in to the middle of places like Globe that never make money back and which costs the loggers way more money in hauling costs with the limited load of wood a truck can carry. They’d never have to open another locked end-of-the-road gate but do restoration work, and they’d get far less hassle from anyone who really understands and cares about forests – which USFS is larely fostering the welfare giveaway of anyway to the best bid. They’d have far less impact as these areas have already been hit over & over & over and they tend to harbor far less native biodiversity now than originally – and they’re easy to get to, cheap for hauling costs / road costs for both us (because WE own the national forest) and the loggers who basically are taking a public resource on our dime. So – as someone who is fully opposed to the USFS handout to loggers – I would still support them doing this along the existing, main road system and with better thinking and planning that their standard, willy-nilly, build millions of dollars of unprofitiable roads style they currently operate under.
Earthfirst – stop acting like 14 year olds, get some decent clothes, get professional and you might become something other than Bob Marley wannabe’s.
“This kind of noisy anarchist protest is counterproductive to the mission of Earth First…
If by “noisy” you mean it’s getting press attention, then that makes sense. Is that necessarily bad?
Just curious…why do you believe it’s counterproductive? And is it not true that it is now being discussed, both here and in the AC-T? If this activity was not going on, there would be no article, no commentary, no discussion. And discussion brings attention. While one can argue about the methods employed, it seems inarguable that such protests at least raise awareness, something impossible with silent acquiescence.
The commercial logging interests would love it if there was no one to protest, no public light shown; they would be unencumbered in their continuing elimination of our dwindling forests.
And, with all due respect, what difference does it make at all if someone can’t “identify” types of oaks? I can’t identify all of the engangered marine life being killed by the Gulf Oil spill either, but that doesn’t mean I have no right to be concerned and worried.
People can demonize these young (and not so young) people all they want, and belittle their efforts. But at least they’re doing something and raising awareness. I say ‘good on them’.
I agree. They are drawing attention to a serious problem and getting press, which is what they want. It is not important if they have not planted a tree or can identify various trees. I also say “good on them”
I personally see nothing wrong with the clothes they are wearing. what do you suggest they wear,I see many idiots all day long wearing clothes they don’t want to wear just so they can please there “EMPLOYER” for 8 hours. More people need to take a stand like these people ! because in the end pleasing your employer for 8 hours a day isn’t what living on earth is all about !- “caleb loves golfpsychology” No its not natural to log the forest – that is what they have told you to believe….there’s money in that damn wood you know,and those “profits” must be protected through LIES! like everything else this United States Government seems to think it controls.
Let us take this timber sale as an experiment, to see what methods are most effective.
I would like to add that most people aren’t as backwards and closed minded as has been implied in the earlier comments, most folks can hang. It takes a special type of person to disregard someone on the basis of their appearance, usually politicians,want to be politicians. In this campaign it has been shown that those types of people have not been swayed by the well dressed liberal environmentalist. With the types of actions Earth First does it really doesn’t matter what clothing is donned. If tailing the votes of all the people in the area of Blowing Rock, presenting the argument well, and asking nicely worked then groups like Wild South and the Environmental Law Center would have saved the globe already. They have been working on this for years with very little returns.
If dressing punk offends you then fine, but it has nothing to do with how effective Earth First’s tactics were.
pff writes (in part):
“I’m saying over-simplifications like ‘not one stick’ imply a level of ignorance as to how a forest actual works.”
“Ecology is a LIVING thing, not a museum.”
I agree with these points, but also stand by my basic view, as written.
As someone who grew up near The Globe and has spent alot of time there, I think it is a real shame. This old growth area has existed and thrived for thousands of years without any sort of active “management”. It is a beautiful place and I am glad that I got to enjoy it in it’s natural state. Forests “actually work” the way they are supposed to when we don’t meddle with them to begin with.
There is so very little of the old growth forest left. Is it unreasonable that we leave some alone? Let mother nature take care of the maintenance.
People like to do what they do best. The forest service is best at logging the forest. Maybe this time, they could find some place else.
The uses and abuses of WNC forests have been hotly debated and discussed and fought over for a century by thousands of people who were, and are, intimately involved and knowledgeable—long before these chanting protestors with drums and neck chains were born.
“Silent acquiescence” has never been a known condition on the part of anyone around here regarding our WNC forests, the logging industry, and our national parks. “Awareness” was raised and “public light shone” long before the chains and drums.
Is it important that these protestors have forestry knowledge? Yes, if they want to be taken seriously. Some basic understanding of the substantive issues would help, along with some knowledge-based recommendations for solutions.
Do you listen to noisy, unknowledgeable drumbeaters and protestors chained to a shrimp boat—or to people who are knowledgeable about the ramifications of the oil spill on sea life and to people who have some knowledge about options for allaying the damage?
Anarchist protests such as this one are counterproductive because the media attention is on the flakiness of the protestors, not the forestry issues, and it is then easy for legislators and politicians to throw up their hands and declare it all unimportant, not worthy of their attention. Neither people in decision-making positions nor the general public pay serious attention to annoying drummers and chain rattlers who cannot produce reasoned concern and argument.
Wonder if these protestors even know how many national forests we have in WNC? And the names of our forests, let alone the names of trees? And which forests have been logged, and when, and how, and which ones are slated for future logging, and what kind? Wonder if they understand any kind of forest management at all? Wonder if they can even articulate what they are protesting beyond parroting buzz-words?
By the way, a real issue for our forests, old-growth and replanted, is what to do, if anything, about the exotic invasives that will eventually overrun and destroy the forests if left completely untended— kudzu, Oriental bittersweet, Chinese privet, multiflora rose. Sometimes “hands-off” can be an unintended form of mismanagement, even willful destruction.
Earth First! We’ll Log the Others Later …
OK, got that out of my system. How many Ashevill’e ‘tarder’s do you think have any inkling of sustanable forestry? Not one stick? Perhaps that fool should move to a place where he can live under a banana palm leaf. In any event the hypocrite should move out of his stick built house.
ok, it was a woman and “sustainable”.
“The uses and abuses of WNC forests have been hotly debated and discussed and fought over for a century by thousands of people who were, and are, intimately involved and knowledgeable—long before these chanting protestors with drums and neck chains were born.”
So? Does that mean they have no right to express themselves on this issue?
““Silent acquiescence” has never been a known condition on the part of anyone around here regarding our WNC forests, the logging industry, and our national parks. “Awareness” was raised and “public light shone” long before the chains and drums.”
Prior to this current event, when was the last time there was public debate? And assuming awareness and light was brought to bear in the past, does that mean that there isn’t room or need for more?
“Is it important that these protestors have forestry knowledge? Yes, if they want to be taken seriously. Some basic understanding of the substantive issues would help, along with some knowledge-based recommendations for solutions.”
Beyond the knowledge that forests are being decimated, what other knowledge do you think is required in order to have standing to be concerned about their continual loss? A “basic understanding” would entail the fact that vast tracks of trees, along with everything within the biosystem that is inter-related, is being destroyed. That is about as substantive and basic as it gets. A passing grade on a botany quiz is not required in order to express one’s opinion on the topic.
“Do you listen to noisy, unknowledgeable drumbeaters and protestors chained to a shrimp boat—or to people who are knowledgeable about the ramifications of the oil spill on sea life and to people who have some knowledge about options for allaying the damage?”
I ‘listen’ to anyone or any group that has a legitimate point to make, regardless of their style. And please point out where, in any article on these arrests, does it support the claim they don’t know anything about the issue. Just copy-and-paste the relevant section, if you would please.
“Anarchist protests such as this one are counterproductive because the media attention is on the flakiness of the protestors, not the forestry issues, and it is then easy for legislators and politicians to throw up their hands and declare it all unimportant, not worthy of their attention. Neither people in decision-making positions nor the general public pay serious attention to annoying drummers and chain rattlers who cannot produce reasoned concern and argument.”
That’s an opinion that may or may not be true; history is replete with examples of protesters being symptomatic of wider-spread concerns. And by the way, while I may have missed it, where do these people profess to be anarchists? Protesters are not de facto anarchists.
“Wonder if these protestors even know how many national forests we have in WNC? And the names of our forests, let alone the names of trees? And which forests have been logged, and when, and how, and which ones are slated for future logging, and what kind? Wonder if they understand any kind of forest management at all? Wonder if they can even articulate what they are protesting beyond parroting buzz-words?”
Wonder why this keeps being brought up as if it was somehow germane? Deforestation has contribued to 89 species of birds in North America becoming endangered or threatened; I can probably identify maybe 8 or 10 of them. Does my lack of comprehensive knowledge negate my ability to express deep concern?
“By the way, a real issue for our forests, old-growth and replanted, is what to do, if anything, about the exotic invasives that will eventually overrun and destroy the forests if left completely untended— kudzu, Oriental bittersweet, Chinese privet, multiflora rose. Sometimes “hands-off” can be an unintended form of mismanagement, even willful destruction.”
Disagree; non-indigenous, invasive plants are a real threat alright, but hardly the only ‘real issue’. Commercial harvesters harvest mature trees, not kudzu. When the trees are gone, the rest is superfluous.
Asking the Forrest Service to do anything about invasive species is joke. They couldn’t whoop their way out of a wet paper bag on that issue.
“If tailing the votes of all the people in the area of Blowing Rock, presenting the argument well, and asking nicely worked then groups like Wild South and the Environmental Law Center would have saved the globe already.”
Well, well it seems that someone has chosen to disregard the important work of groups like Wild South and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Wild South has been engaged with the USFS and local communities on the Globe Timber Sale for four years and are on the verge of reaching a solution. These things take time…
Truth be told, Wild South discovered the Old Growth in the Globe in the first place. I guess it’s a good thing all “those well dressed liberals” who work for Wild South include scientists, foresters, biologists, lawyers, and other professionals who actually get into the woods and engage communities to help protect wild places.
Wild South is currently working to protect 25,000 acres of that includes the Globe as the Grandfather National Scenic area. They’re thinking big picture and working to find permanent solutions to persistent problems.
No one should disregard the important work of groups like Wild South in defense of Earth First! tactics. We are all in this together and conservation efforts suffer when environmentalists waste their time stabbing each other in the back and playing the blame game.
Get informed, get involved, and get out there!!
Given the fact that the federal government has proven that they manage our forests just about as well as they manage everything else (which is to say not very well) and that the local residents and towns seem to be opposed to the cut I’m surprised a small protest expressing the same views has caused such an uproar.
Shouldn’t local communities be able to manage their resources as they seem fit, provided it doesn’t damage folks downstream?
Oh, and as to this idea of management being good for a forest, the idea that “good” is subjective seems to have escaped some peoples notice. It’s pretty hard to argue that the vast majority of forest management has been good for timber comapanies’ bottom lines and politicians campaign coffers, and not much else.
sorry to hear you think so little of us and our tactics. It’s really a shame though that you attack us so quickly without ever meeting us, learning about us, or discussing with any of us about our knowledge of the forest. I started organizing with earth first! after my parents(both of whom have been ecologists for over 20 years) lent me books by Ed Abbey, and the work my father has done on invasive species has had quite an impact on me. I have planted trees, and I can identify some plants in my bioregion, but not all. I’m constantly learning, as are many others. Just a heads up as well, we have come dressed nice and talked with USFS. You know what they did? gave us the run around, every time a knew reason the cut had to occur. We would debunk it and come back and they would give us a new ridiculous reason.
“Anarchist protests such as this one are counterproductive because the media attention is on the flakiness of the protestors, not the forestry issues, and it is then easy for legislators and politicians to throw up their hands and declare it all unimportant, not worthy of their attention. Neither people in decision-making positions nor the general public pay serious attention to annoying drummers and chain rattlers who cannot produce reasoned concern and argument. ”
some of us may be anarchists, but not all. and in which article did it focus on our supposed flakiness instead of the issue? I’d love to see that one. Our actions and protests have created way more buzz and discussion about this cut than I had heard prior. I know so many people who care about the environment who hadn’t the slightest idea this cut was even happening until we started making some noise, hell how many discussions about this cut have you had before you read this article?
[b[Let mother nature take care of the maintenance. [/b]
I’m goign to have to disagree. Humans are stewards. The forests of North America have been managed by people as long as people have been here. It’s healthy for the forest. “leaving it alone” actually leaves the forest in poor health.
“Native” folks managed forests to a very large degree, at times burning hundreds and even thousands of acres to clear out smaller, weedy growth that chokes out the forest floor.
Clear-cuts and other typical Forest disService Coporate Management is certainly not a good aproach, but the Disney-fied simpplifications that imply humans should have a hands off approach are just wrong. We must learn how to manage properly, and that mean understanding HOW to interact, not just shrugging off our collective responsibility.
It would appear these young, idealistic Earth Firsters have yet to study forest ecology enough to get beyond their simplistic generalizations.
They should try living and workign in the woods to gain an understanding of the livign relationship between humans and their environment.
So-called Old Growth is indeed beautful, noble, and inspiring thing, but a tall canopy is not the end-all be all in a forestès advancement. Trees grow. Trees die. New trees grow in their place.
And last time i checked, most of us live in wood houses and use paper products, so mayeb we better learn the moderate approach, and jettison with the emotional charged, reactionary sense of conservation.
[b](P)rotests such as this one are counterproductive because the media attention is on the flakiness of the protestors, not the forestry issues, and it is then easy for legislators and politicians to throw up their hands and declare it all unimportant, not worthy of their attention. Neither people in decision-making positions nor the general public pay serious attention to annoying drummers and chain rattlers who cannot produce reasoned concern and argument. [/b]
This is my point. They should study the issue better, come to the public with some informed opinions, and encourage a realistic dialogue.
As it stands, this is just more ego-based ‘im such a rebel’ sillyness that does not advances their agenda of ‘saving the forest’ one bit. And, as Betty states, probably actually dissuades people from their side by association.
‘not one stick’ is so incredibly ignorant and nonsensical.
i wonder where the paper came from to make their fancy signs?
Hey, I’m the kid locked to the building in the photos. It’s true, I can only identify 3 types of oak without consulting a guide book. I’d like to point out that the allegation that the media has focused on our flakiness is easily proven untrue by… reading the media attention we’ve garnished. Also, if polite discussion and suits convinced the forest service of anything, the 1300 comments during the public comment period, statement from the association of small business owners from Blowing Rock and fantastic information provided by Wild South would have convinced them. So ummm, you’re wrong. Media exposure was our intent and we succeeded, both in creating more public dialogue and in showing the timber companies that they could inherit the crazy protesters that the Forest service has been dealing with for the past year by purchasing this area. And I hope the person who defended us as maybe not being anarchists isn’t disappointed but it’s true, we are. Although if loud protest has become synonymous with only anarchists, the rest of the left in this country is in big trouble. Thanks to everyone who supports us!
I hope those signs were made with 100% post consumer recycled paper, and the pens were non-toxic and made in the UDA!
I’m still trying to figure out what the “globe forest” is and why “The Monkey Wrench Gang” is still required reading for a group that hasn’t changed its tactics in decades. Why not hire some lawyers to delay logging indefinitely like Big Oil does with oil spill settlements? It’s not ethical, but it darn well ties up your opponents from actually accomplishing anything. Free press coverage is included too.
I’m glad these folks care about leaving something living and vibrant on this planet for future generations. Complaining about the way they dress or whether their signs are sophisticated enough is just a lazy way of ducking the issue.
We’ve logged these forests down to a paltry few, and going after the remaining old-growth isn’t about jobs or supplying the furniture/construction/etc. industries anymore, like in past generations. It’s about maximizing profit for the timber companies.
Unless you want to catch your kids using the words ‘forest’ and ‘tree farm’ as if they were the same thing, it’s well past time to stop logging old growth, period. And then take a serious look at restructuring the FS away from being a taxpayer-funded resource agent for private timber companies.
Good on ya, kids.
““leaving it alone” actually leaves the forest in poor health.”
That is ridiculous. Define ‘poor health’.
“Trees die. New trees grow in their place”
Good idea. Let these very few that are left grow, die and get replaced.
““leaving it alone” actually leaves the forest in poor health.”
Reminds me of the old caricature of the inconsiderate party guest who’s caught flicking his cigarette ashes on the floor: “It’s good for the carpet.”
Seriously, as if the forest wouldn’t be ‘healthy’ if humans didn’t show up a few thousand years ago & start cutting down trees? Give me a break.
““leaving it alone” actually leaves the forest in poor health”
So the forests were in perpetual ill health until man started mucking it up for profit? Ridiculous on its face.
“They should try living and workign in the woods to gain an understanding of the livign relationship between humans and their environment.
Also ridiculous. It assumes that if one does not ‘live and work in the woods’ they are by definition clueless about the “relationship between humans and their environment.” Should all of the world’s top environmental scientists be forced to live and work in the woods before they are to be taken seriously?
So to the growing millions of people on the planet who understand we are all part of a biological web and who are deeply worried over man’s negative impact, please be advised that you have NO RIGHT to express any opinion, in fact are an ignoramus, unless you can demonstrate that you’ve lived and worked in the woods. Now just keep your goofball ideas to yourself until you’ve met that criterion. Don’t rock the boat!
They should try living and workign in the woods to gain an understanding of the livign relationship between humans and their environment.
Exactly – only people who make a living in the woods are allowed to comment. Let’s see, that leaves scientists (we’ve proved we can ignore them), pot growers (they keep their mouths shut), and timber company employees.
That is following the line of the Chicken Hawk Argument posited by Lefties when discussing foreign policy. Glad to see that logical fallacy used on you. ???
To those who said they wished they knew this was going on – you can join the cause on facebook and be alerted to event going on around protecting globe forest here:
and read more about it here:
Forest Service Plans To Sell Rare Old-Growth For Logging Despite Public Outcry
Asheville, North Carolina – The U.S. Forest Service plans to cut over 200 acres of mature, hardwood forest in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 40 acres of which contains rare, old-growth. Residents where the forest lays, in the scenic mountain of Blowing Rock, just west of Boone, strongly opposed the cut. Although carrying out a formal appeals process with the Forest Service, they were denied requests for cancellation of the project.
Of the total forested areas in the South-Eastern United States, only half of a percent is old-growth . At this point, old growth forests in North Carolina are only remnants, but the U.S. forest service continues to allows them to be sold and cut as timber. After the cutting of old growth forests, it can take up to 200 years to regenerate their original characteristics, but many times their original biodiversity is never restored. In addition, as much as 20 percent of carbon emissions that cause climate change is attributed to deforestation. A study done in 2008, by Sebastiaan Luyssaert, and published in Nature found that mature trees, rather than being carbon neutral, absorb carbon for centuries. When mature trees are cut, all of the carbon stored in them, and their soil itself, is then released into the environment.
Oh sorry – how insensitive of me to use a porcine-related epithet against a person who identifies as a Pig.
when the ecoterrorists shut down all the oil wells, will they attack their neighbors for burning their precious trees to keep from freezing to death in the winter?
The question here seems to be, is all press good press? The protesters weren’t doing anything to physically stop deforestation, it was an event designed to draw media attention to the cause, so the merit is to be found in public perception.
Did they bring additional media attention to the issue? Certainly.
Did the media attention that they garnered help or hurt their cause? Clearly, a bit of both. I hope it did more good than harm, but it is hard to say for sure. Those of us who agree with them will continue to agree with them, and the event will put the issue on more of those people’s radar, which is good, but those who disagree, which are the the most important people to reach, will just be more resolved than ever. Preaching to the converted tends to be a remarkably ineffective media strategy.
It wasn’t a case of physically blocking the deforestation, it was a media event, so it was entirely about perception, so whether or not they have PhD’s in sustainable forest management, or they are just rebellious young anarchist banging drums because they like trees, makes little difference, except in how it informs their arguments in any subsequent media.
From a media perspective, it seems that their approach leaves a lot of room for improvement. They may well have informed, cogent arguments behind their cause, but what the people who disagree with them perceived, and even some people who agree with them perceived, was a group of young radicals dressed in anarchist garb carrying handwritten signs with simplistic phrases scrawled in magic marker. That can’t be the best strategy, because it is guaranteed to make them appear as countercultural flakes to most of the people in a position to change things.
In persuasive media, the general intent is to win over whoever you want to persuade. If an ad wants to win over elderly women, it will appeal to elderly women. If it wants to win over children, it will appeal to children. I have no problem at all with the way that the protesters were dressed, but as a media strategy, I can’t see an upside to it. If they were truly there for the cause, and not themselves, they would do everything that they could to appear in the way that best serves the goal of winning over the people that they need to win over.
Their cause would clearly be best served by doing everything in their power to avoid being perceived as marginalized and flaky, because in a media event, that perception of them is transferred to the cause itself.
When I was younger I was an anarchist myself, and one of the things that started to really concern me about the movement was this very issue. All too often, the social clique/fashion element, and the rush and self-satisfaction of rebelliousness, eclipsed the import of the actual causes.
[b]Exactly – only people who make a living in the woods are allowed to comment. Let’s see, that leaves scientists (we’ve proved we can ignore them), pot growers (they keep their mouths shut), and timber company employees.
No, what im saying is, if they took the time to take some forestry courses, or maybe spent some time actually living and working in the woods, they might have a more fluid, whole perspective on the forest, instead of this sort of Disney-fied notion that a forest is best left untouched by man.
Anyone who knows anything about forest ecology knows it that a forest left to its own becomes very unhealthy. The forests of N. America have been managed for thousands of years, they dont get to where we see them now (even the so-called ‘old growth’) without active involvement by man.
To claim otherwise is nonsense.
“Not one stick” implies a serious lack of this basic understanidng. I’m not condonign clear-cuts, or harvesting all our old growth. I grew up on the west coast and was quite active in the ‘defense’ movement of the pacific northwest in the mid 90;s. And it is an unfortunate reality that many, many of these city kids come into the movement with a very uneducated, absolute, black and white persopective that is just plain wrong.
they would do themselevs a great service to educate themselves a bit more so they can actually communicate an educated perspectuve to the larger public beyond such nonsensical platitudes like ‘not one stick’.
[b]Seriously, as if the forest wouldn’t be ‘healthy’ if humans didn’t show up a few thousand years ago & start cutting down trees? Give me a break. [/b]
I would argue they wouldnt, but that sint the point.
The point is we have ‘managed’ our forests (as did the peoples here before the europeans), and once that occurs, you must continue.
You seem attached to a notion that ‘nature’ is separate from man. Thats just silly. Yes, a forest can live and die without people, but as soon as people start to influence the forest, they must continue. No, that doesnt mean we should hand our forests over to large logging operations, just as it doesnt mean we should just pretend ‘the woods’ is some foreign place, separate from the areas we live, work, and shop.
Forests must be managed, and the sooner these suburban activists understand that, the sooner they can communicate ideas that wont be immediately discounted as absurd and ignorant ‘like not one stick’.
Stop with the bamby syndrome and stop objectifying ‘nature’ as some foreign entity.
Yeah, the Forest Service ‘manages’ the forest for the benefit of the timber industry, not the people, not the animals and least of all not the ‘forest’ itself. I have walked thru ‘dead’ forests of single-species acreage that is great for pulp and board-feet but doesn’t even attract animals, hikers or anything but loggers. FU, FS. The Forest Service has the resources and the tools to help our forests stay healthy, but time and time again they prove they’re only great stewards of commercial interests.
zen, what National Forest did you walk through that was a single species tree farm? Perhaps you are thinking of pine plantations that are private property tree farms for the purpose of providing 20-30 year timber stands for pulp, paper and dimension lumber? I am not sure what involvement the U.S. Forest Service has with such investments other than to offer advice.
If there is a national forest that is commercially planted as such, it has no business being in the U.S. government’s inventory imo. When the FS bids out a tract for harvest, depending on what part of the country it is in, the contractor is usually required to replant native species (an exception being Northrn NE which is left to natural regeneration).
Far more acres of forest are lost every day to rampant development—subdivisions, streets, highways, malls, airports, parking lots, golf courses, ball fields, coal mining, and agriculture—than to logging. And consumer demand for paper products and wood for construction continues to grow exponentially.
Overall acreage of forest land in the US continues to grow outpacing timber harvests. Net timber growth in this country has exceeded harvest by at least a third for decades now. This continues a trend that is well over a century in duration. Northern New England as an example was nearly completely deforested by the middle and late 19th century. It is now as forested as it was in the 18th century and becoming more so outside of urban areas. As people moved into urban areas starting in the early and middle 20th century, former farmland has reverted back to forest.
There is a lot of general ignorance among the latte set that grew up sitting on plastic and feeding themselves on the boob tube. After we eliminate oil, plastics, paper, timber and CO2 let’s hope there is enough dirt left to cover the nincompoops.
Several years ago I saw a TV documentary showing the outward expansion of Atlanta, which at that time was the fastest growing city on the globe (still might be, not sure).
From overhead, you could see the amazing expansion–the city eating up the countryside by many miles per day, entire housing/shopping/recreational areas being built in multiples, forests (2nd to 4th growth by then) being bulldozed and burned in great heaps, and millions of acres of new pavement and rooftops throwing up heat waves.
Spoiled trustafarians in thrift store clothes with too much time on their hands…
so thunderbear what should people be concerned with instead of forests being cut down? why don’t you enlighten us? not to worry, most people don’t care.
If you have ever BEEN in a US National Forest, you will see that the Forest Service has done a beautiful job protecting the natural resources and RESPONSIBLY logging the trees. The USFS would NEVER log old growth forests and has been active in prohibiting irresponsible uses (i.e. people irresponsibly using ATVs). If you really think that the US Forest Service is solely out to make money for the lumber companies, you clearly have never been camping in a National Forest or enjoyed the wonderful benefits it has brought to America. Our country is MOSTLY National Forest, and its protection (including responsible logging to prevent wildfires) is a very important legacy for the US.
And while I totally support these protesters for their courage and intentions, they just have their facts completely wrong.
[b]so thunderbear what should people be concerned with instead of forests being cut down? why don’t you enlighten us? not to worry, most people don’t care. [/b]
The post you are responding to said nothing about the value of being concerned with ‘the forest’. It made reference to the clearly privileged and debatabley spoiled, ‘hip, cool’ look of the protesters. (which, in my opinion, only serves to marginalize themselves and their purported ‘message’, whatever that message is)
But, hey, if fashion is more important to them than results, their doing a GREAT job. I bet that kid who got arrested gets all kinds of social collateral for his effort.
but way to strike down something not said.
Thank you Caleb for clarifying Jenna’s addled comment.
@Jenna-As to your new point, I personally like having access to paper products. It is perfect for toilet paper (sorry, no virtual TP for me), reading the Mtn Xpress (gasp! those evil paper-munching capitalists!), writing letters and mailing them in (horrors!) paper envelopes. And paper makes handy, biodegradable protest signs (see above photos of young trustafarians). Last but not least, the forest industry provides jobs for many people across the nation and here in the South. For those people, ‘Going Green’ means making green money to feed their families. And Jenna, this may come as a shock to you, but I imagine your home is made with WOOD! And it occupies land that was once the home to a wooded forest filled with sweet gentle creatures…until it was cut down so that you could have a place to live.
Forest Lover – you say they would never log old growth forest – that was part of this plan – how do you reconcile that?
“The USFS would NEVER log old growth forests”- Forest Lover.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell if a comment is simply based in lack of knowledge or in a deliberate falsehood, but either way this is so far from the truth it is laughable. Earth First! and their allies in the environmental movement are probably one of the only reasons their is any old growth left in this country.
“Old Growth” is indeed impressive and beautiful. But it is incorrect to think of certain areas of the forest as ‘beyond management’. I dont agree they should clear-cut the entire area, but saying they cant selectively remove trees is counter-productive to the health of the forest.
You cant just take a ‘hands-off’ approach to the forest. We screwed it up for hundreds of years. You can NOT just walk away from that and pretend the forest will ‘fix itself’. There is no truth to that approach at all.
Yes, the Forest Dis-Service needs to be better managed and monitored, but we dont need to get rid of them altogether. We just need to keep them from catering 100% to the large mills.
[b]Earth First! and their allies in the environmental movement are probably one of the only reasons their is any old growth left in this country. [/b]
Nonsense. Name what areas have actually been ‘protected’ by earth first or any on-the-ground activists. I’m not saying they havent tried, but the only reasons trees are still standing is because its not cost effective to harvest them due to location, etc.
For example: Julia Butterfly hill saved ‘luna’, but they cut everything around it. A token save with no real value to the overall well-being of the forest.
“But it is incorrect to think of certain areas of the forest as ‘beyond management’.”
I guess that’s true if you believe that every single solitary square inch of forest can’t survive without man’s divine intervention. That’s about all the old growth that’s left represents.
The maintenance issue is bogus anyhow. If you’ve been there, you’d know that the old growth forest ‘needs’ the least tending. Its only when you start cutting it down, that the forest ‘needs’ maintenance.
It can be difficult to take EF’s arguments too seriously – what are the origins of the clothes on their backs? They could be recycled clothes, but my bet is that nimble hands in Southeast Asia produced those clothes at one time – in a (gasp) sweatshop no less. We can take it a step further and ask ourselves where the fiber came from to make those clothes, or the zippers, buttons, plugs in the guy’s ears, etc…
Single issue rants can be open to criticism, yes, even by judging people from the clothes they wear, b/c they actually can expose a person’s ethical demeanor.
Most people are concerned