EARTH MEANDERS: Old Forests, REDD Rage and Earth Revolution

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk
Gaia dying, time for green rage, spread the wordEarth and her humanity need old forests to exist. And all enabling their destruction, including potential carbon markets paying for 'sustainable forest management' in primary forests, are legitimate targets for an Earth Revolution.
For too long those feeding upon the trough of “sustainable” forestry have been perpetuating the myth that primary and old growth forests can and should be harvested using “Sustainable Forest Management” (SFM) techniques. Old Forests are key to ecosystem, biodiversity, human and the Earth System's survival. Along with other intact natural terrestrial, aquatic and marine habitats; old forests are the internal organs of the Planet and regulate the Earth System to maintain conditions conducive to life. Primary forests logged for the first time are permanently ecologically damaged in terms of composition, structure, function and dynamics.
I am stunned, dumfounded and enraged at the wholesale selling out of the climate and forest, led by big environmental NGOs (BINGOs). The latest positive idea for an ecologically sustainable Earth — Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Diminishment (REDD) — to pay for ancient forest protection with carbon monies, is at this very moment being watered down to mean business as usual first time logging of primary forests that forever destroys ecosystems and habitats. Like “sustainable development” and “certified forestry”, the REDD concept of paying for protection of old forests' carbon stores, biodiversity and ecosystem is being taken over by industry.


Current thinking is that REDD will not primarily pay for avoided deforestation — that is keeping and benefiting locally from standing old forests — but instead pushes long-failed and mythical “sustainable forest management” in the world's remaining dwindling primary forests. Latest REDD proposals as part of the UN climate policy process focus upon paying for everything but keeping old forests standing. I am absolutely appalled at the environmental movement for rolling over on climate offsets in general, and their tolerance or promotion of “sustainable forest management” for the world's remaining primary forests, rather than strict protection.
I am enraged and indignant. Well known NGO's obstinate support for Forest Stewardship Council's certification of first time primary forest logging as “well-managed”, while implying sustainability, has set the stage for industrial logging to be falsely marketed as a climate change solution. On the back of NGO greenwashing, first time industrial logging of primary forests is now claimed to be beneficial to climate, never mind that most timber products are in the landfill decomposing within years, and that current and future forest carbon stores are reduced for millennia.
Nothing fills me with such rage as the selling out of ancient life giving forests by greens and BINGOs. Under REDD+ UN climate proposals, sustainable forest management, clearing of primary forests to be replaced by plantations, and selective logging of never before industrially harvested forests, could all be granted carbon credits. To solve climate change, your tax monies are to be used to pay to log the last primary and old growth forests which hold and remove unbelievably vast amounts of carbon. This is like being against slavery and committing to treating your slaves better at the same time.
Old forests make Earth habitable. The fact that such an ecological ignorant and ludicrous notion as logging old forests with carbon monies for alleged climate benefits is being entertained illustrates clearly the failure of the Western democratic consumption system. Along with other political signals, such as ridiculously low carbon emission reduction targets being set by rich industrial economies, emerging economies refusal to reduce emissions, as well as a clear lack of understanding how these targets will be met within the dominant economic growth paradigm, all indications are that current prevailing economic and government systems are inadequate and are unable to respond to looming ecological collapse and end of being.
Old forests are our home. We and many species have evolved there or nearby, and are utterly dependent upon their carbon storage, biodiversity, soil, water, wildlife, rain and other ecosystem processes they provide. Earth is faced with an unprecedented emergency as its surface is scoured of life and the ecologically cumulative biosphere collapses. Nothing impacts climate, water or oceans more than denuding natural forests. To advocate cutting down the last bits of old forests that allow us to live, to be paid for by money to address climate change, is an outrageous crime against humanity that cannot go unchallenged.
I am absolutely appalled at the environmental movement for rolling over on demanding sufficient climate policy. The forest movement has been piddling about with certified forests, once off protests, demonstration projects and market campaigns for decades. Specifically, their promotion of industrial scaled “certified” or “sustainable” forest management of old forests, rather than strict protection and local community eco-forestry, illustrates the death of ecological science based free thinking adequate to solve the Earth crisis on hand. And meanwhile Earth continues to be scraped of its forest skin.
The degree of corporate collaboration (including by BINGOS) to find ways to profit financially from ecological Armageddon is sickening. It is this desire for endless profit that has brought us to the edge of global ecocide. Any organization, individual, company, government, BINGO or other espousing industrial first time logging of remaining primary and old growth forests is a criminal and liable. They do not understand the imperatives of ecological science, and that our way of life is destroying the ecosystems required for our and all life. And as such they are legitimate targets for protests of many sorts.
I have come to believe the only way to bring about global ecological sustainability will be an Earth Revolution to overthrow the whole stinking and unsustainable system of growth in economy, population and inequitable consumption. We are failing to maintain Earth's ecological infrastructure, and it is now time to seriously raise our game and only pursue what is necessary to ensure humanity and Gaia's shared survival.
Human survival depends upon paying local peoples and governments to protect and restore old forests, while helping local peoples and governments benefit from them remaining standing. If REDD is not gotten right at Copenhagen (and ambitious short term emissions reductions targets set), than the only manner to achieve global ecological sustainability will be to overthrow the industrial growth machine. Any such Stewardship Revolution would be well advised to focus upon those that continue antiquated processes of burning and cutting Earth to death. Those scouring the Earth of biological life must no longer go unpunished. Whatever it takes, old forest logging and other industrial destruction must end now.
Failure at Copenhagen and immediately after to protect old forests, put in place immediate emissions reductions, and urgently address over-population and inequitable consumption will mean our only chance of ecological survival is revolutionary action. If international efforts to address climate change instead intend to clear the last remnants of an intact global ecosystem, they will need to be resisted using all means necessary. We may or may not choose to wage war upon those we know are destroying being, but failure at Copenhagen will make violent revolution THE only way to save a habitable Earth populated by complex life including humans. For life and Earth, it is time to revolt.

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27 Responses

  1. ALS says:

    Does anyone have email contact info for any of the officials who will be attending the Copenhagen session?
    I think it would be a good idea to alter this essay slightly, (change “I” to “We” and things like “your taxes” to “our taxes” etc)_ and send it as a petition to Congress, BHO, and all of the to-be-attendees at Copenhagen.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Is there an internet site that shows where genuine old growth primary forest can be visited?

  3. Mary Bull says:

    Well said! Thanks, Glen!

  4. jules newman says:

    May I print and publicise this please?
    I`m organising the Information tent for Newfoundland Festival in Wales in September
    and intend to highlight environmental concerns in general and the role of trees in particular If we could also present your piece as a petition we too could send it to Copenhagen

  5. E. A. Fano says:

    Finally, someone has told it like it is. All of these forest “management” schemes proposed by environmental groups have been spelling death for our forests for decades. You are right Glen. It IS time for radical action, for revolution against the life-destroying machine.

  6. Chris says:

    Hi Dr Berry,
    I agree with you 100%. The sellout “environmental” groups cut off at the knees those actually concerned about protecting the environment rather than cozying up to the establishment for crumbs.
    They are a serious problem.
    take it easy
    Chris

  7. As chairperson of Ecosystem 2000, an ethical-ecological organisation in Suriname, our organisation and I are very occupied with the preservation of the Amazon rainforest. Glenn is making some very accurate statements here.
    However, let's keep in mind that it is not just a matter of “not logging” but also of closely working together with local communities in order to present sustainable ways for getting their livelihood. People need to feed their children, it is as realistic as that.
    Only an integrated approach to this problem will proof to be sustainable in the long run.
    I kindly recommend “Eternal Spring. Living with Enough in a World of Abundance, written by Flemish author Jef Crab, as an hand-out for this situation. It describes very accurately the mind-shift and actions Glenn is talking about.
    And let's face it: a lot of these action have to be taken in the North in order to preserve the forests in the South.
    You can support the good work by spreading this publication.

  8. Rick says:

    One has to first realize why the forests are being destroyed. Overpopulation and consumerism. When forests are cleared to make way for Palm oil and other monocultures, for corn to either feed humanity or fuel our cars and for cattle ranches then the conclusion must be that there is too much demand for these products, a demand stemming from the fact that there are too many people on the earth.
    We are treating the destruction of our ecosystems not by curing the problem but by trying to ameliorate the symptoms. This will never work.
    Rick

  9. Julia says:

    I agree with Chris in that there are two sides of the story. In Brazil, so-called extractive reserves are created to guarantee the sustainable livelihood of forest populations and the conservation of the Amazon at the same time.
    These communities live and work according to collectively elaborated use plans that are approved by an agency of the Ministry of the Environment (IBAMA).
    They extract the natural recources (such as a

  10. Julia says:

    Sorry, I meant to say that I agree with Natascha Neus.

  11. Natalie Mannering says:

    I mourn the loss too, but what's done is done and raging won't bring back the old growth forests that are gone. Restoring them will take a long time. In the meantime, it would help if people knew more about how algae can rescue us from the immediate and soon -to -come effects of the loss. Farmed algaes like Spirulina and Chlorella produce more oxygen even than forests and are excellent sources of whole food for a hungry planet. They can be used for many other things as well. Just developing the market for hemp and algae could change the outlook for planetary survival dramatically. See http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=3740

  12. Barbara H. Vinson says:

    Old growth forests sustain us and the ecosystem. But of course the god-almighty dollar is far more important in the minds of the human subspecies. No one has the right to destroy those forests, and if they succeed, it's only because enough people did not take them on to do what's right. We'd better act because idiots like that care not a whit for the planet or its forests; they're after profit.

  13. Michelle says:

    Could not have said it better myself! I for one am prepared to wage war to save what we have left. I have had enough of the greed and the raping of mother earth by the devils who walk amoung us!

  14. Bud says:

    As I read the essay, I wonder if the objection to management of primary forests is based as much on the author's aesthetic sentiment as science? There is plenty of science to demonstrate that proper forest management can supply most if not all of the old growth amenities except perhaps aesthetics. That also can be provided, but takes much more time than most people are willing to wait.

  15. Dave Moore says:

    What did the US and Europe do with our old growth forest? I'll let folks research this for themselves.
    What if we had left 20% of each 100 acres uncut and only selectively harvested the rest? What if we had not deforested most of the eastern US?
    We will never know because expanding human populations don't act this way. But it would probably have been pretty awesome.
    I wonder why people of color don't listen much to Americans and Europeans much about forest management.

  16. Fabian Pedrazzini says:

    Dear Dr. Barry,
    Thank you for your greatly respected work and views on humanity's way forward on Planet Earth. My family and I gratefully participate in the email protest campaigns organized by EcoInternet. Attached for your possible interest is a submission to the Australian Government by Lionel Orford published in the Energy Bulletin of the Post Carbon Institute last month. You may find that in important aspects views expressed in the submission support the position adopted by EcoInternet.
    With best regards
    Fabian Pedrazzini
    Hong Kong, China

  17. Nigel says:

    Sorry Mate you are confused,
    I thought that we had an understanding of dialogue but it seems I was seriously wrong!
    Now let us get things straight. The nefarious bastards who control the flow of natural resources and the destruction of the biosphere are the criminals you want to hit “testicularly” not those who want the same aim as yourself but do it via different avenues.
    Why do you automatically believe that if any organisation cannot agree at first response to the actions you propose that they are acting against you?
    Many folk including many who are just as heart centred at SAVING primary/ancient earth ecosystems as you can contribute a formula which encourages others to see a long term ecoviable perspective and not be opposite to your own views? Why do you seek to be centre stage on anything ecological? Are you the only one who has nightmares about the Armageddon which is affecting all natural life on Earth. Sorry mate for if you think this join the very long queue!!!!!!
    Glen I have had enough of your rantings…Take a bloody break from your high and mighty ship…Give it a rest.. Get real and get to grips with the true reality of what you are saying for once. If you really want to do some good….learn to listen and encourage others who have similar views to yourself and gain some constructive diplomacy and use it to shore up your own views and not to shoot down others who are working in ways you both fail to understand and interpret at the best as mediocre. Do this and you might just get a hell of a lot more respect and financial sponsors too!
    Are your rantings, like the pious idiots who run the well known Earth Centred, "Eden Project" in my own county of Cornwall in the UK going to save one hectare of rainforest in Indonesia…Bollocks they will. Go to the Bird Life International site and type in Harapan…and LEARN for once.
    And please do not insult me…the latest rant as it seems includes a rant at me. I have been involved in these issues longer than you…I have seen the variety of life extirpated in Sarawak when you were a mere student; I was a advising Bruno Manser (just prior to his murder by the Malaysian Secret Police) and George Monbiot (“Poisoned Arrows” fame and UK Guardian Environment Journalist) when he was protecting the indigenes who NEED the forest to live!
    We can all use our intellectual verbage to denigrate others who may not parallel our exact views but for crap sake do not fight those who you see at this moment are not doing what you expect everyone should be doing in exactly the way only you see things !!!!!
    For your information the Indonesians are actually seeking advice about how REDD can accommodate a mechanism to ensure the viability of their primary and secondary forest systems. What is needed is the strongest "Policing" of ensuring that the

  18. Bill Holmberg says:

    I would appreciate an opportunity to speak to someone connected to Old Forests, REDD RAGE and Earth Revolution. I am Bill Holmberg, Chair of the Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy — dedicated to sustainability, against logging in old forests, but for optimizing the health of old forests through approprortiate human intervention.
    I would appreciate an oppotunity to discuss this issue,
    Bill Holmberg.

  19. S Chapman says:

    Hi there,
    Please forward details of corrupt NGOs & their schemes(contact details etc).
    Many thanks,
    S Chapman

  20. Greer Hart says:

    Thanks for your latest information – I totally agree with what you are stating. There now seems to be a global awakening, but those enlightened are not in power. The latest is that Daewood has rights over half of Madagascar's agricultural capacity and China is in Africa doing the same to fee its growing population. The tiger in India is almost gone and next will be the elephant. The bison and grizzly in the USA along with the polar bear are next in line. In the UK, our marine environment is badly needing protection, but any laws passed are tampered with by politicians in the pocket of the fishing and other marine exploiting industries. The condition of the natural world in the UK has been degrading despite massive attempts by conservation groups. The EU is becoming a disaster with old forests being under threat in Bulgaria, Romania and in the north with Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. In Scotland, the RSPB is trying to extend the old Caledonian Pine Forest. I sponsor, by monthly donations, projects here and abroad that conserve old forests and support the indigenous people. What happened in Peru was disgraceful, however, Chavez and others offered support to the tribal people against Garcia. South America is bringing in dangerous people from Europe to colonise areas and fill up cities and these people have a genocidal attitude towards the indigenous people. The incomers are interested in the gas, oil and minerals and the high life wealth brings. This is all found in journals etc, but no one in power is doing anything about it. A Scottish company, Jardine/Mathieson is about to destroy a vast peat/forest area in Sumatra for palm oil.
    Yours sincerely – Greer Hart

  21. Dante Gumiel says:

    It is necesary to stop deforestation anywhere. In the other hand is necesary to forest some critical zones of the Planet as the Altiplano in South America and the Tibesti Mountains in Africa. It is posible to improve the actual climate conditions.

  22. Sean Jones says:

    Great article and nice rounded corners!

  23. Mike says:

    Hi Glen
    The levels of denial are astounding. Myself and 3 daughters strive to raise awreness and funds for Ashaninca communities in Peru. If the indigenous go, rather like the honey bee it will all be gone. These tibespeople are holders of paradigms 1000's of years beyond our own greedy and indulgent society which will happily cook the dinner from our grandchildrens flesh.
    Well done and thank you for the affirmation of your site. We live very simply and have worked tirelessly to get funds to help the natives resist the loggers. But its like trying to stop the tide……. keep up the good work. WE MUST STAND IN EVERY ROOM ON EVERY CORNER AND KEEP STATING THE BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS TO THE STUPIDLY BLIND
    bring it on
    best wishes
    Mike

  24. Sandra Weatherby says:

    Im sharing your profound and moving words Glen..
    your brilliant
    love Sandra

  25. Christine Frank says:

    Dear Dr. Barry,
    The Climate Crisis Coaliton of the Twin Cities (3CTC) agrees with your characterization of the corruption and betrayals committed by the BINGOs. They are guilty of endorsing fraudulant certification systems that cover-up primary forest destruction and pass it off as sustainable. The cowardice of some NGOs leads them to have illusions in fake REDD schemes that allow first-time logging and grant carbon offsets to boot so that industrial polluters in the North can continue to emit greenhouse gases ad infinitum while making money from the carbon credits. 3CTC is well aware that these pernicious mechanisms, so eagerly supported by some greens, have led to primary forest destruction and replacement with sterile monocultural tree plantations that in no way, shape or form resemble natural ecosystems. In one of its more benign aspects, REDD is nothing but protection money paid in bribes to loggers not to cut trees in the Global South. These are funds that are never seen by forest-dwelling people, who could use the money for sustainable-use projects or renewable-energy to improve their lives. Along with phony Clean Development Mechanisms that promote destructive biofuels, megadams and nuclear power plants and the European Carbon Trading Scheme, which is nothing more than a means of creating fictious capital to solve the capitalist liquidity crisis, REDD is just one more reason to completely scrap the current international climate agreement. It should be replaced by a People's Climate Protocol that will actually stabilize Earth's badly disrupted climate system. The components of such a program must include drawing down carbon to a safe 300-325 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentrations to cool down the planet and prevent catastrophic climate change. To Save Mother Earth, we need a crash program, funded by government war budgets to wean the advanced nations completely off of fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources to zero A.S.A.P. It is time to leave the oil, gas, coal and uranaium in the ground where Mother Nature put them and switch to renewable, non-nuclear wind & solar power along with clean mass transit powered by the same means. We must retool industry and convert to the green production of the necessities of Life including healthy, nutritious organic foods. Our economy must be truly sustainable and provide a just transiton for all workers & oppressed nationalities affected by the shift from dirty, polluting production to green manufacturing and farming. To accomplish this, it will require the equivalent of a wartime mobilization as in the case of World War Two when industry was completely retooled and rationing, recycling and conservation were widley instituted. In order to avoid the mal-development of China and India, wind turbines, photovoltaics, solar cookers and other clean technologies can be manufactured for export to developing nations. This should be combined with a HANDS-OFF! Policy toward their natural resources, allowing workers, peasants and Indigenous Peoples to determine how to heal the damage done to local ecosystems and how to use them sustainably. Given that the human population has exceeded the carrying capacity of Earth, we must stabilize our numbers, and in the North, greatly scale down our consumption by powering down our society as well as putting an end to waste by reducing, restoring, reusing and recycling at the point of production and from landfills. To make peace and end the war on Nature, we must establish a zero-waste, zero-growth, steady-state, democratically-planned socialist economy that puts planetary and human needs before profits. It is merely a matter of asserting our societal will as long as the Carbon Barons and others of their ilk do not block our path toward change. Of course, 3CTC has no illusions about that, and we understand that the old ruling order must be swept aside. Toward that end, “an Earth Revolution” is precisely what is needed to overthrow the capitalist system of commodity production based upon private property and endless exponential growth. Achieving such a fundamental transformation is absolutely essential if Life on Earth is to survive. Clearly, growing the economy is shrinking everyone of our ecosystems and soon there will be nothing left of the Biosphere. Capitalism is, therefore, foolishly underming the very material basis for its own existence, but that matters little to the greedy, shortsighted captains of industry who are only concerned about the next quarter's profits so they can continue to stuff their pockets at the expense of humanity and all Life on the planet. That is why “Paying local peoples and governments to protect and restore old forests” is an inadequate solution and not the answer to the problem of deforestation and ecological destruction in the Global South. What is needed is the complete overthrow of imperialism as manifested in the neo-liberal globalization of the world economy by the giant transnationals, which have stretched their tentacles everywhere and are strangling the ability of local peoples to survive. As it is now, the big corporations are literally getting away with murder as they wage bloody oil wars and rape and plunder natural resources while decimating biodiversity, degrading fisheries, superexploiting the labor of the people and destroying their ability to subsist sustainably off of their wild and agro-ecosystems. The activists of 3CTC share your anger and rage, Dr. Barry. We agree that these crimes against Nature and humanity “must no longer go unpunished”. That is why, once we take away “the right” of the employing class to exploit Mother Earth's bounty and the labor of others, which are the sources of all wealth in this world, we should lock these criminals up and throw away the key. We believe also that this powerful class which controls the planet must be resisted “using all means necessary”. Therefore, 3CTC is for building a powerful mass movement of millions upon millions in the streets that reaches hands across borders in solidarity with the rest of the global community to end once and for all the tyranny of the corporations and their subservient and corrupt politicians. We must go beyond mere protest and progress rapidly toward revolt. You are absoluely right, “For life and Earth, it is time to revolt.” Revolutions have been made in the past, and we can apply those lessons to our struggle for change today. We must act NOW before it is too late. This is really our last chance to put things right and live in harmony with Mother Nature and the other Lifeforms with whom we humbly share this world. By conciously reconnecting with Nature and engaging in cooperative and collective action among all those of us who are oppressed and exploited, we can change things. A better world is possible, and it is the only way to ensure that coming generations–both wild and human–will have a decent future.
    Yours in Struggle, Christine Frank

  26. Mike M says:

    I note the rhetoric presuming that sustaining human overpopulation is moral or ethical, in some of the responses.
    ALL humans are, like any other species, heavily involved in reproduction.
    Yet, knowing that you all have seen the massive exponential trajectory visible in any graphed plot of human growth, I find it very strange that commenters would still attempt to characterize SOME human populations as innocent of this growth.
    I have commented to some Medical Doctors and others involved in that industry, that their idealism is a root cause of the destruction of worldwide ecosystems at the unprecedented rate we see.
    Also implicit in some comment, is the presumption that some cultures are somehow less desirous of material gain. A deeper study of nearly every ascending culture will show thatindividually and en masse, all humans seek to increase their control of resources. That is, they seek to enrich themselves through violent or other political means.
    Further study will also find that every human group that feels dispossessed of their drive toward increase has argued whatever ecologically balancing ideals they have used in practice (although almost all ideals of this type are results of inability to extract resources in certain ways, by individuals of a culture. Humans everywhere and everywhen, as far as can be known, radically change ecosystems after they have introduced themselves or been introduced.)
    Those who feel threatened by Dr. Barry's attempts to promote a new ethical norm might consider more deeply their part in resisting such a development. He is suggesting we have an ethical capacity along with a vital necessity to change.
    Perhaps we do, perhaps not. To change is difficult. Violent response in the effort to resist a necessary wider ehtic is not change, but business as usual for the species.
    Before one brings self-righteousness in attacks on Dr. Barry. perhaps one should untangle their anthropocentrism from their other concernss.
    The fragmentation of environmental organizations is a result of this very confoundment.
    Thank you, Dr. Barry, for continuing to publicize the problem; perhaps we could get concise references as to which environmental organizations and what compromises they have made with their membership resources?

  27. There many rewards such as clean air and clean water, perhaps the two most important, that forests provide. Rainforests also provide many aesthetic, recreational and cultural rewards. If the rainforests are destroyed, then these rewards dissappear. This has major social repercusions for the entire world.
    The relationship between deforestation and soil ersion. Deforestation is known to contribute to run-off of rainfall and intensified soil erosion. The seriousness of the problem depends much on soil characteristics and topography.

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