2011: A Lifeline for our Southern Forests?

The United Nations recently designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests. Why? Because forests are essential for life on earth — from supporting biodiversity, to filtering our water, preventing floods and removing carbon from the atmosphere. Yet, despite their immense value, industrial logging in the southern U.S. is only accelerating. In fact, in North Carolina, Duke Energy is already burning forests for electricity and pushing to burn more.

President Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, advocated for more investments in wood-burning energy facilities as a green alternative to coal, even though evidence shows that burning forests could increase carbon emissions and pose even more of a health threat than burning coal.

But with a little inspiration, we can protect our forests. Environmental groups and Fortune 500 companies, for instance, are engaging in an innovative conservation and restoration project called the Carbon Canopy (www.carboncanopy.com). The time is now.  Let’s get creative. It’s the International Year of Forests!

— Kathryn Stewart
Asheville

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