RELEASE: deRANged II The Sequel — Rainforest Action Network Endangers World’s Rainforests

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of EcoInternet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry,
(EARTH) — Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has unexpectedly pulled out of nearly completed secret negotiations with EcoInternet to work jointly to reform the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to stop certifying as environmentally acceptable the first time logging of old forests [1]. After fifteen years of FSC membership, RAN still cannot say how much first time industrial primary and old growth forest logging FSC has certified as “well-managed” while implying environmental sustainability (no one including FSC board members can, or at least they are not talking). Estimates place it as high as 60 million hectares of old forests having been cleared with FSC certification for such necessities as toilet paper and lawn furniture, with an equal amount imminently threatened.
RAN's tropical rainforest campaign has collapsed into irrelevancy. For several years there has been no activity other than working on oil palm, fund-raising and throwing lavish parties. A year ago, after two years of protests and threats to disrupt their REVEL celebrity studded fund-raiser, they pledged to reinvigorate their rainforest campaign, starting with writing to FSC to find out just how much old forests they are destroying. Apparently being an FSC member has few benefits, as no response has been received. By supporting FSC, Rainforest Action Network is greenwashing rainforest destruction globally. FSC is only marginally better than competing industry certification schemes in that it depends upon old forest logging to meet market demand for throw-away consumer items. Old forest logging must end.

In past weeks, RAN launched their long awaited new rainforest campaign, focusing upon Indonesia. With Indonesia's rainforests ablaze releasing huge amounts of carbon, in what constitutes a global ecological emergency, RAN did what they do best and threw another party — this time in New York City with super-models! After a year of planning and expenditures, the best campaign RAN came up with was to target Tiffany and the fashion industry's use of shopping bags. They succeeded in getting this high-end consumer luxury brand to pledge to only use FSC certified bags — which means Canadian forests rather than Indonesian will be clearcut with FSC certification to abet continued over-consumption.
EcoInternet calls for the immediate resignation of Michael Brune as RAN Executive Director, and Lafcadio Cortesi as Forest Campaign Director. An organization founded by a taxi-driver, and headed by an accountant and religious studies major, cannot be entrusted to develop the comprehensive and ambitious policies necessary to protect old forests as a keystone response to climate change and ecosystem collapse. RAN has no desire, willingness or ability to change its tired market campaigns, which legitimize continued over-consumption, to bring them in line with the new ecological knowledge.
“In RAN's cloistered little world of celebrity parties, failed market campaigns, and banner drops; there is no ecological science to be found. As climate change has been shown to be abrupt, and rainforests the key to solving this and other eco-crises, RAN has shown no willingness to re-examine their strategies and tactics in light of looming biosphere collapse. RAN is called upon to present a compelling vision of how logging 500 year old trees in tens of millions of year old ancient forests protects them or they should disband their forest campaign,” states Dr. Glen Barry. “Otherwise RAN will continue to endanger the world's rainforests by supporting FSC and other marginal reforms of rainforest logging.”
Dr. Barry is an expert on the global ecological system, rainforest and climate policy, and holds a Ph.D. in “Land Resources” and a Master's Degree in “Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development”, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. EcoInternet has a global network and reach several times larger than RAN, committed to ecologically sufficient policies to achieve global ecological sustainability. Despite this, RAN continually denigrates EI's work as “one guy on the Internet”, repeatedly trying to vilify Dr. Barry. There is a clear difference of opinion, and RAN had best start owning and defending publicly their failed FSC policy, rather than resorting to tangential distractions to hide their negligence.
EcoInternet is committed to creating a political ecology space to discuss ecological science based solutions to global eco-crises. This includes academically discussing whether more robust resistance may be necessary to obstruct ecocide — we have done so for years. Rather than dialoguing on our differences, RAN has chosen to find excuses to continue stonewalling and vilifying ecological difference of opinions. RAN is committed to being glamorous and using rainforests to fill their coffers for other campaign purposes, rather than ending ancient forest logging. Concern over RAN's failed rainforest campaign is not going away anytime soon, as their continued unthinking support for old forest timber product consumption makes them a legitimate target of protest.
[1] Here is the final draft joint statement which RAN pulled out of at the last minute after wasting months of time negotiating:
Getting the Forest Stewardship Council to Stop Certifying Old Forest Logging, a Joint Statement from EcoInternet and Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and EcoInternet (EI) are pleased to have found common ground regarding shared goals and strategies to fully protect and restore old forests globally (defined as primary and regenerating old growth forests which are largely ecologically intact). We affirm both organizations are committed to ending industrial logging of old forests, whether certified or not.
The extent to which the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies as environmentally acceptable the first time logging of old forests remains untracked and unknown, and this lack of transparency is unacceptable. In light of current and emerging ecological and climate science, EI and RAN oppose continued FSC certification for such logging — except under specific conditions such as small scale community eco-forestry practiced by local peoples.
RAN is committed to using its FSC membership to determine the extent of FSC's dependence upon primary and old growth forest logging, and ending such practices. RAN will renew its request that FSC develop a tracking and disclosure system that monitors, quantifies and verifies percentages of certifications — based upon both certification numbers and timber volumes — that occur in old forests. RAN expects that its concerns regarding data collection by FSC will be addressed within six months.
RAN will work with others in FSC's environmental chamber to recognize that all old forests should be declared High Conservation Value Forests under FSC principles and criteria. Failure by the FSC to develop these monitoring and reporting metrics systems, or to address weaknesses relating to the principles and criteria in relation to old forests, will result in RAN lobbying FSC customers, certifiers and key stakeholders to adopt an “FSC Plus” approach which is free of old forest timbers. EI and partner organizations outside of FSC will make similar demands. Lack of meaningful progress will result in other strategic remedy actions -;- including RAN revoking their FSC membership.
Further Areas of Cooperation
Rainforest Action Network and EcoInternet are committed to ongoing communication and joint initiatives to swiftly end deforestation and degradation of old and intact primary and old growth forest ecosystems, and the ecological restoration of old growth forests, as keystone responses to the climate and biodiversity crises.
Copenhagen represents a unique and hugely important opportunity to advance both forest and climate protections. Industrialized nations must commit to major emissions reductions, recognizing their historical carbon debt, even as emerging economies take responsibility for massive increases in emissions from deforestation and industrialization. We acknowledge the potential of REDD to protect forests and their carbon stocks, but recognize that ecologically and socially rigorous elements of “Good REDD” have not yet been defined, and are not yet assured.
We agree there should be no REDD funds for logging (SFM) of either old or other natural forests, or for conversion of natural or semi-natural forests and other ecosystems to plantations. Other elements of “Good REDD” necessary for our organizations' support include science based forest definitions, explicit land tenure and rights (particularly recognition of Indigenous Peoples rights as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), equitable benefit sharing for local communities, and a focus upon governance and corruption issues, transparency and equity. Further, there should be no REDD offsets market mechanisms as part of any REDD agreement.
We share the vision of action on climate change that is ecologically sufficient and thus includes both ending societal addiction to coal and oil AND stopping deforestation and degradation as keystone responses. We agree regarding the need to continue addressing underlying causes of forest loss and diminishment including developed country consumption of timber; pulp, paper and palm oil as major drivers for the expansion of industrial logging into intact natural forests, and the relative timidity of policy responses to date given the magnitude of the problem and threat to the planet. We intend to lobby other forest groups to express support for this old forest protection vision.


  1. Thanks for exposing the sham of RAN's legitimization of logging old growth forests
    Dear Glen,
    In the for what is worth category . . . I think you are absolutely correct in being appalled and outraged that RAN would condone and give legitimacy to FSC in stating that ANY logging of old growth forests is sustainable. All of us should be outraged.
    Really appreciated your direct and tough approach in your last e-mail.. I'm grateful you are trying to hold people accountable in stating that another party with supermodels and having Tiffany use certified bags is not getting the job done to save planet earth.
    Wishing you and yours very well,

  2. Good one, Glen, except the reference to my friend Randy Hayes- he made an Oscar winning documentary about the Hopi prior to joining RAN- and being a taxi driver. I get cranky too, though (see my posts at NYT Dot Earth), and what's needed these days is balls, not Hollywood.
    RAN, as you know, is much bigger now, and they've tripled staff and office space.
    I've done work on FSC too. We really should meet some day. I live in Vashon and come to Seattle often, and have been researching and publishing about domestic forest issues for 15 years. I also attended three FSC supported seminars, and made notes about their projected growth rate, as well as their lies. They don't even admit in public that they ever certify old growth logging
    Mike Roddy

  3. Thank you for telling it like it is! Too many environmental organizations have gone soft. What a tragedy to FSC-certify ancient trees.

  4. As I understand it, the US Lacey Act has been amended to require imported wood products to be certified for sustainability. While this sounds like a positive step for ancient forests, for the legislation to be effective and achieve its aim, the certification scheme needs to be sound.
    It seems to me that the certification scheme should have independent people monitoring it and making sure it is doing what it is supposed to do.
    Is anyone monitoring FSC?
    I see where Simon Counsell says that FSC is the “Enron of forestry”.
    It's so sad. This needs to change.

  5. I would love to know why RAN elected not to go ahead with you on this project. Obviously, you are taking personal shots so they most likely have a very good reason for backing off of any joint projects with you.
    Your reliance on academic credentials to establish reason for being is entirely insufficient. If Taxi driver can lead the charge and preserve what environmental integrity we have left, more power to him.
    You are dead wrong in asserting that they accomplish nothing, their track record this year speaks for itself. Ask anyone involved in the struggle to end MTR in Appalachia….

  6. Dear Glen,
    I can very well imagine how frustrating and embarrassing this RAN
    behaviour is for you – but you knew (like we do) what their real agenda
    is and therefore we wonder how you could trust them in the first place.
    Maybe because we are more consequent (radical) these fancy people never
    even dare talking to us.
    Anyway, good to see that you are still alive and kicking.
    ECOTERRA Intl.

  7. Hi ..
    Thanks for the info!!!! …
    I have been wondering about these folks for awhile … some rather strange arithmetic with RAN fundraiser “functions” I have noticed … AND when I have tried to go to their petitions on the click to give page, they ALWAYS turned up blank white pages (“done”) …
    Months ago, I posted a pledge on for people to do a click to give free for RAN.
    It is quite popular among the core activists on ch.o….
    I would like to post a petition to RAN to BOYCOTT this action as well as the RAN gifts (another fundraiser on ch.o) until RAN gets with the program.
    In order to be able do so, I would need an email address for RAN.
    Do you know what addy I could use?
    Of course we could merely boycott without telling them what we are doing but I don't know if that would be effective if we don't tell them what we are doing and why.
    A few weeks ago, I also posted a comprehensive list of RAN actions to STOP MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL 33 actions.
    This post is even more popular than the click to give pledge.
    Thanks again,

  8. Thank you so much for exposing this awful situation, and for informing people who care for this planet that they are being lied to and ignored once more by big business and political interests. What a despicable bunch of people RAN are. Bloody parties, of all the cheek!

  9. How do we move forward from behavior based upon political feasibility and economic expediency to actions driven by practical requirements of biophysical reality? At least to me, it appears that the “window of opportunity” in which restoration of balance between unsustainable, distinctly human overconsumption/overproduction/overpopulation activities on one side and Earth's finite resources and frangible ecology on the other is rapidly approaching its closing time.
    Perhaps necessary change is in the offing and comes soon enough.

  10. Hello
    I have read all about RAN information which you have given and I really did not have any idea about this situation so thank you very much for sharing this good article with us.You have done a good job.

  11. After 8 long dark years of denial, duplicity and death-dealing, it is surely a breath of fresh air that President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Finally, leadership with vision and hope has been restored to a lost world. Perhaps now we can be encouraged by this great man so that others will exemplify his kind of new leadership; so that, as the Nobel Prize Committee stated to and for all in the world, more leaders will stand up, speak out loudly and clearly for "diplomacy

  12. As a global citizen, my job is to express individually a “duty to warn” and, by so doing, encourage others in the human community to accept collectively their duty to warn people everywhere of potential, clear and present dangers that could soon to be confronted by humanity if too many arrogant and greedy leaders continue to advocate more of the same old, large scale, business-as-usual activities. The patently unsustainable economic models, business practices and conspicuous efforts to overconsume and excessively hoard that have given rise our current predicament cannot get us out of the mess we have produced, I believe. Perhaps a necessary change of direction is in the offing.
    Given what many people worldwide are recognizing now as human-induced global challenges, it appears people with understanding and knowledge of such formidable and pressing circumstances as could soon be presented to the human community have what appears to me as a duty to warn. Those possessed of clear vision, coherence of mind, a capacity for intellectual honesty and moral courage are called upon to speak out loudly, clearly and often so as to make themselves heard as one voice.
    If time for corrective action is short because life as we know it is threatened and of the essence, as it appears, perhaps needed changes for the sake of protecting human wellbeing and preserving Earth's ecology are coming which are predicated on our fulfillment of a collective duty to warn, one which leads the children away from unsustainable theories and activities resulting in biodiversity extirpation, environmental degradation and wanton dissipation of global resources to sustainable ways of living in the planetary home we are blessed to inhabit……and not ravage, I suppose.
    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  13. This whole post seems fishy and childish. As an outsider, this reeks of personal vendetta. I don't trust a word of it. All the comments seem to be written by one person. I 'm not getting the whole story here.

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