RELEASE: RAN Sells-Out Canadian Boreal Forests

Press/Social Media Release
Rainforest Action Network greenwashes destruction of half of Ontario, Canada's boreal forests; despite lack of any detail regarding vague promised protections, and without scientific findings that doing so is ecologically sufficient
By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of EcoInternet
Dr. Glen Barry
Canada's boreal forests: rich in carbon and water(Earth) — Rainforest Action Network (RAN) of San Francisco has long been one of America's leading rainforest campaign organizations. Yet in July their campaign to protect Ontario, Canada's boreal forests [search] doomed half this vital global ecological system to industrial destruction. In return, RAN and other proponents received vague promises of protections over a decade from now, but no protected area boundaries or protection plans.
Canada's boreal forests are home to hundreds of sensitive species of animals including polar bears, caribou and wolverines. Boreal forests are some of the world's largest carbon storehouses, with holdings equal to decades of global emissions from fossil fuels, while continually absorbing new emissions. The boreal region is also the world's largest reservoir of clean fresh water.

“Just how much longer do you think environmentalists can strike deals that give up half of large wilderness ecosystems to industrial development for vague promises of protection? Simply, more ecologically attuned folks know no more natural habitats can be lost and expect to survive climate change,” explains EcoInternet's President, Dr. Glen Barry.
Neither RAN, WWF or even Greenpeace realize that there is no longer any acceptable reason to industrially destroy or diminish an intact natural ecosystem — not if falsely FSC certified, not to briefly alleviate poverty, and not because indigenous people are in favor. The state of the Earth is so grim, and the needs to protect and restore natural ecosystem so large, that only sufficient campaigns seeking to end industrial cutting and burning are worthwhile any longer. The rest is greenwash.
It is unknown if 50 percent protection — of unknown strength and placement — will be enough to fully sustain Ontario's biodiversity and ecosystem services. Future protections will likely center on the sparsely populated and largely unthreatened northern boreal, while with its promotion and endorsement of the vague plan, RAN has greenwashed intensified forestry and mining in the already heavily fragmented southern boreal.
“The only meaningful forest protection is to work to keep all ancient primary forests standing, and to meet needs for forest products from secondary forests regenerating into old-growth. There is no chance of achieving global ecological sustainability until ecological destruction ends, what remains is fully protected, and restoration begins,” explains Dr. Barry.
This is the second time in recent history — the other being in British Columbia, Canada's priceless Great Bear temperate rainforest — that RAN has been a driving force in continuing industrial loss of the world's most important remaining large, intact forest wildernesses. Greenwashing millions of acres of industrial wilderness destruction in the name of indigenous rights is not doing these people or the environment any favors. Thankfully, RAN now does little tropical rainforest campaigning, so they may be safe. With more victories like this, soon there will be no ancient forests or an operable climate.
RAN's slide from a force for forest good to a force for forest greenwash must not go unchallenged. This is particularly difficult for EcoInternet, as President Dr. Glen Barry is a RAN rainforest award recipient, and has worked collaboratively with them for decades. Yet RAN's string of blunders — also including occupying campaign offices of Al Gore to protest oil investments (which Nader also had), possibly swinging the 2000 election — cannot be forgotten nor forgiven, particularly while ill-informed campaign strategies continue. RAN has censored those questioning these policies on their blog.
Dr. Barry laments, “You can't present yourselves as cutting edge, selfless and knowledgeable forest protesters and be routinely cutting deals to turn over millions of acres of ancient forests to fatcat loggers and miners. We need to focus on how many ecosystems are necessary to maintain the Earth's habitability, and reaching these levels of protection and restoration, not upon what can be indelicately and easily negotiated.”
RAN is called upon to get on board protecting all ancient forests and working to restore mature, old-growth forests; or they, like so much of the mainstream environmental movement, are part of the climate and biodiversity crises. “Giving up on half of Canada's boreal forests for a pocket full is mumbles is not the role of the Rainforest Action Network, members or donors. They have no authority or expertise to be pursuing such deals.”
Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on global forest and climate policy. EcoInternet provides the web's leading climate and forest web portals at and Dr. Barry frequently conducts interviews on the latest environmental policy developments and can be reached at: (note confirmation email response required) and +1 (920) 776-1075.

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24 Responses

  1. Nigel says:

    As always well proclaimed. Further action is needed to put these sinners on
    the road to righteousness.
    Best wishes,
    (AKA as Hissing Sid … the establishment who represent the ecological
    holocaust eon we are now entering)

  2. Bob says:

    Glen – what happened to you? You used to be such a champion for life and the forests – and now you spend so much energy attacking groups that have great credibility and support – which undermines yours. Why not spend more time working on solutions and spreading the word about the bad actors on the government and corporate side – those who are behind the massive destructive prectices, policies and projects? Why are you so angry at the larger environmental groups – and RAN in particular? Did you have a falling out with them? I ahve been a reader and supporter of you for many years, but frankly, unless you stop attacking the groups that are full of committed, selfless and incredibly hard-working people, I'm going to blacklist you to my spambox. Please chill out on the aspersions and attacks on those who have done SO MUCH good, and who no doubt continue to do so as they navigate the very complex arena of government and capitalist collusion. There's always another side – and things are never as simple nor as black and white as they seem. You're starting to sound like a raving loony. Come back, glen!

  3. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    About the level of discourse I have come to expect. Read the release. And then I ask you, why are you so afraid Bob of questions regarding failings of the current dominant environmental paradigms and failing forest protection strategies? The one that RAN and others promote saying we log primary carbon and biodiversity rich forests with FSC certification and it is all fine, and that huge chunks of the world's remaining large, contiguous forest wildernesses can be traded for liquidation in order to protect other areas because we have enough to still give some away. Perhaps you can tell me how FSC certified logging of a 500 year old ancient tree in a primordial ecosystem is sustainable or even remotely beneficial? No one from RAN has yet.
    As for your question “Why are you so angry at the larger environmental groups”? RAN just negotiated away an area two times the size of Minnesota that lies in my bioregion, and got NOTHING concrete in return. Hundreds of mines and logging operations that could have been resisted in the southern boreal will now go on unimpeded with the RAN seal of approval because in 15 years there might be some protections. We hold every last one should be resisted, so when ecological crises worsen and awareness continues to shift in our favor, there is more to work with in terms of ecological restoration of a failing biosphere. Keeping up with these reasoned arguments Bob?
    There are very powerful and foundational discussions regarding how forests relate to global ecological sustainability that you Bob and RAN are unwilling and/or unable to hold. Is widescale industrial development of primary forests acceptable if indigenous peoples so desire? Are there enough ancient forests remaining to sustain atmospheric processes? Can first time industrial logging of ancient forests be done carefully enough to maintain carbon, species and other values?
    Every single response — all of them — from anyone affiliated with RAN, including yours Bob, to over a year of campaigning has turned to personal vilification rather than substantively address ecologically underpinned and reasoned critique of RAN's strategies. That is tyranny right out of the fascist handbook. Mostly there has been deafening silence — the only response ever from RAN came from their webmaster! I and others will not be silenced or ignored by the majority forest protection thought which has failed by thinking ancient forest destruction can be controlled and minimized if we just plan and monitor better. It must be stopped. The stakes are the continuation of being.
    I am more than willing to discuss any of these substantive matters with you Bob, and the rest of RAN's supporters, but will no longer respond to personal attacks. If not abusive, I will let all discussion through to show in these comments, a courtesy RAN does not offer its critics. And my how the list of critics is growing. We are going to win — eventually the whole movement will embrace protecting all remaining ancient forests. Why not now when there are still enough to matter?
    Dr. Glen Barry

  4. Gunnar Roth says:

    I felt I must give you some feedback about the received info in the
    As we all know, to get message through successfully, the given
    informatio must every time succede to be accurate and reliable. also in
    details. This time I couldn't avoid writing to you, because, to my
    knowledge the polar bears don't roam in the forests nor are they
    dependent on whether there are forests or not. — Aren't hey living in
    the icefields and tundras and almost excluxively feeding on seals and
    only occassionally on for example caribou or polar fox?
    That much about that. Otherwise, I'm thankful to you for keeping me at
    alert about the many things that are going on in the field and I wish
    you all the best with your effort.
    Sincerelly yours
    Gunnar Roth

  5. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    Dear Gunnar,
    While generally you are correct that polar bears are a tundra species, they do occur along the shoreline of the Southern Hudson Bay ( ) — an area of boreal forests grading into tundra
    ( ) in Ontario. Here is a better Ontario polar
    bear range map: . I know, I was amazed too!
    Dr. Glen Barry

  6. Anonymous says:

    I do not believe this article. There is no way RAN would in any way be associated with allowing logging or any thing like that. Aren't they for ending any destruction of old-growth no matter what?

  7. Michael McLaughlin says:

    For all readers:
    There must be at least one environmental organization that does not compromise, and seeks to disseminate accurate information about compromises by other organizations.
    BTW the James Bay polar bears occupy those swampy and boreal-forested areas Dr. Barry suggests.
    While these comments may be important for questions, a bit of research before using the valuable time of such as Dr. Barry, would benefit each of us, as well as their direct efforts to slow old-growth ecosystems.

  8. sandy valencour says:

    I am soooo disappointed in RAN. Why why why. If you give an inch, they will take a mile. What happened?

  9. Mark Giese says:

    Sorry to hear this about RAN.
    BTW, Nader stole my vote from the Socialist.
    Even some Repubs voted for Nader in 2000.

  10. twyndragon says:

    Thanks, I was supporting RAN

  11. David Nickarz says:

    I applaud for revealing the horrible campaigns that FSC and RAN are responsible for. These organisations are threatening the Boreal forest and making it harder for grassroots activists like myself from actually preserving the forest.
    David Nickarz,
    Winnipeg, Canada

  12. deRANged says:

    I am just stunned. I could not believe that RAN supported logging old-growth or would trade away wildernesses for negligible protection. A few web searches and the truth is clear. As a long-time supporter of FSC which is based upon first time industrial logging of ancient forests, and first in British Columbia and now in Ontario, RAN is PROMOTING ancient forest destruction thinking somehow industrial development of primary forests can be done carefully. This is simply deRANged.

  13. Now is the time to shed some light on a need for economic changes, with the hope of assuring a substantial, sustainable global economy and a good enough future for our children.
    How is adequate, sustained attention to be drawn to the greedy kings and self-proclaimed masters of the universe who are responsible for the perpetration of such a colossal, fraudulent and patently unsustainable scheme as we see in the rampant process of seemingly endless economic globalization?
    At least to me, it appears that the huge scale of unbridled global economic growth is a canker threatening to overspread and eventually ruin Earth as a fit place for human habitation.
    Changing from an unsustainable world economy {the one constructed as a perpetual motion machine and managed as a pyramid scheme} to a sustainable one has got to be made the goal, does it not?
    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  14. Robert E Lee says:

    I'm sorry to say this, but you are wasting your precious hopes and dreams fighting this. It began and ended with the Sierra Club trying to tell the truth about population and the religious mother – – – – – – – who torpedoed them. Eventually, there will be major wars either proceeded by or followed by pestilence, spreading/proliferating diseases and world wide epidemics. Don't worry about this resilient planet. it's the idiots overrunning it who have everything to lose…including their welcome!!!
    kindest regards to you all for trying so hard
    Robert e Lee

  15. Susanne Hare Lawson says:

    Hello Glen, when in Bella Coola, speaking with hereditary chief Ed Moody, we reflected on how these enviromental groups are selling the resources down the river, after all the protests and actions, these groups are coming in and giving much of it away, for vague promises of some protection in some pristine areas. We are finding that most of these groups are now under the control of US funders, mostly large foundations that are playing the “greenwashing” game. Here in Clayoquot, the groups that sold us out are mostly the same that did the same in the Great Bear Rainforest, Greenpeace, WC2, Sierra Club, National environmental Defence group(bobby kennedy's group in the US, and now Forest Ethics and RAN, it is the same story, even here in Clayoquot Sound, ever since Friends of Clayoquot started being a paid organization instead of community based volunteer organisation, now receiving over 80,000 a year from foundation money to paid employees, they are towing the line and allowing old growth forest to continue to diminish. It is playing itself out everywhere, and some PR company has found the way to ensure that the logging of these ancient forests doesn't end. Sadly, those “players” in the environmental movement are allowing the destruction to continue. I think that the environment is meant for everyone at this time and not for the standard known groups that have diminsihed in integrity over the years but still hold their public relations power and filter the news media through them, it is the same old story but we sure appreciate the truth coming out from your vision and efforts, it is badly needed for people to be aware of how the environmental movement has been had. All the best to you, Susanne Hare Lawson

  16. Tommy Twotone says:

    This saddens me to no end. Shame on RAN and the rest of the groups that have sold out the Earth.

  17. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    Dear Susanne,
    Thank you for your lovely and deeply saddening email. Truth will prevail, and if we are fortunate, before it is too late.
    Warm regards,

  18. Tony says:

    I am so fricking glad someone is out there telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. RAN use to be cutting edge and is now marginal and dated in its approach. What a shame…
    You know, RAN's annual star-studded self-congratulatory fund-raiser is coming up. Perhaps we should invite ourselves and protest?

  19. Gertrude Wensch says:

    This is outrageous. Who is this Rainforest Action Network (never heard of them) and why are they involved in boreal (non-tropical) forests anyway? Something has to be done about this. They can't just be negotiating away areas like this and getting nothing concrete in return away with impunity.

  20. Jason Dodson says:

    Can't we all just get along a little here, people? Do you really think we stand a chance of “being the change” and creating a future together if we single out groups of creative, committed people who work very hard, 24/7, to get the best deal for the Earth? When you attack RAN, or any of the other groups you've singled out, you attack your sisters and brothers, and yourselves. Perhaps there is another side to the story as well? I know RAN and have followed them for many many years. Not only were they part of a coalition that spared 5.4. million acres of old growth forest, but they also have campaigns in the Amazon and Indonesia, fighting to push Palm Oil plantations back, Soy Fields curbed, and the communities affected gain a greater voice and ultimate justice, but they also are working on some of the most serious elements of climate change. RAN is drawing attention to the biggest banks in the world who are funding coal power in the US. These are the coal plants that are fed by the destruction of the mountains and communities of Appalachia. They have worked creatively and tirelessly to embarrass the automakers (and implicitly the complicit government) into increasing fuel efficiency, decreasing emissions, and bringing electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to the country.
    RAN does not boast as some might. And it helps other organizations and grassroots efforts across the country and around the world. There is a lot at RAN to be thankful for – a lot to be proud of.
    Hassling these terrific people – our people – is not going to make the world a better place, nor is it going to reform FSC.
    Working to reform FSC is going to accomplish that.
    I invite you to turn your energies towards solving the problem rather than decrying the efforts past – and those that continue to go on – we all need to work together to save the forests, the climate, the global environment.
    It's easy to be a critic. It's far more difficult to organize a base of popular support and to turn that into power that moves markets – and therefore those that depend up on them for their survival.
    I appreciate with all my heart the efforts of the people – those courageous activists and supporters and administrators – who make up those groups – RAN, Greenpeace, Forest Ethics, FOE, the Sierra Club, the Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, International Rivers, and so many others.
    They will forever have my support, as they should have our common support.

  21. TeeDee says:

    For almost 20 years now I've thought either Rainforest Action Network or at least our local (San Luis Obispo, California) representative were crooked.
    Back in the early 90's RAN led the calls for protection of rainforests. But our local guy, who didn't otherwise work, collected money and set up protests against Mitsubishi, only to buy a brand new Mitsubishi at the same time. We kicked him out of our all-volunteer eco-newspaper office for stealing. He was also removed from the home of a disabled woman who had let him live there, believing he was devoted to environmental protection, but when she asked him to leave he would not. He pled poverty all the time he was active here, but suddenly he had enough money to travel around Central and South America for several years. When he recently showed up here again at the local environmental center, begging to use their resources to collect money for RAN, he was immediately run out of there as well. But not before he talked some local newspapers into giving him free ad space.
    Always, it was about collecting money for RAN, supposedly to save the rainforest. But long-time local environmentalists weren't fooled this time. He left town shortly after being kicked out of the environmental center, and I feel sure he's running his scam somewhere else.

  22. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    RAN Gets Grumpy as Concerns Regarding Their Ancient Forest Greenwashing Crash the Party
    Point by point rebuttal of RAN's response to our global Earth Action Network's protest targeting their support for FSC's ancient forest destruction
    By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
    September 27, 2008
    Please continue taking action to stop RAN and FSC's Ancient Forest Destruction at:
    **Points beginning with > are RAN's comments to our protest which targeted their corporate sponsors for their Revel awards ceremony and fund-raiser. EcoInternet's response is in capitals.
    > Recently one of our old NGO allies, EcoInternet, the parent organization of Rainforest Portal, has directly contacted a number of our supporters and allies. Our organizations have a strategic difference of opinion, and EcoInternet has recently decided to divert the attention of the environmental movement away from protecting forests and towards attacking RAN and other NGOs. This note is to offer our side of the issue and request your patience with any inconvenience caused by EcoInternet's internet campaign. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
    > Does RAN support ancient forest logging?
    > – No, RAN absolutely does not support logging ancient forests. Our Old Growth Campaign works to protect ancient forests and defend the rights of their inhabitants.

  23. boreal boy says:

    I'm certainly glad to know that when the corporations cross the line there will be people to call them on it. Loggers got to the old growth redwoods, and its like seeing the deforestation in the amazon rainforest to see areas like around prince george… A checkerboard of clearcuts.

  24. Anonymous says:

    i really love polar bears and i really think that this website is a good idea!! so plzzzz keep on doing the good work you guys are doing!!!

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