Beijing, China 2008 Olympics: Destroying Ancient Rainforests to Raise the Torch
From Rainforest Portal, a project of EcoInternet, Inc., http://www.rainforestportal.org/
Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, firstname.lastname@example.org
With two-and-a-half years to go until the start of the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing China, the Chinese government and Olympic Committee have recently placed a $1 billion rush order for endangered ancient rainforest timbers. They are to be industrially logged from Indonesia's Papua province to be used in construction for the games.
This weekend the Rainforest Portal and EcoInternet's global ecological advocacy network launched a campaign against this Olympic rainforest tragedy at http://www.rainforestportal.org/. Already several hundred thousand protest emails have been sent to the Chinese and other national Olympic committees. Many dozens of email accounts have been filled and shut down around the world.
In explaining the rationale for the protest, Dr. Glen Barry notes “it is outrageous that China's Olympic facilities are to be constructed from ancient rainforests. It is against the Olympic ideals of bringing 'people together in peace to respect universal moral principles' when the events are housed in facilities constructed with timbers of questionable legality and morality. The Olympics should stand for peace and justice, not deforestation and ecosystem collapse.”
Indonesia's Papua province on the island of New Guinea has some of the world's last remaining large intact rainforests. The proposed timber processing factory would industrially harvest 800,000 cubic meters of the famous and threatened merbau (intsia spp) rainforest timbers, destroying huge swathes of ancient rainforests, to be exported to China for the construction of sports facilities.
China's demand for timber following a ban on logging in their own country is devastating ancient rainforests around the world and particularly in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. An investment of this size will only serve to legitimize and further fuel illegal, highly unsustainable, and ecologically devastating logging, ensuring the destruction of the world last large and critically threatened ancient forests.
The campaign is calling upon the Chinese government and Olympic committee to commit to hosting an “old-growth, ancient forest free” Olympics. As a start, the purchase of these Indonesian rainforest timbers must be cancelled. Failure to do so will permanently tarnish China and the Olympics' reputation.