World Rainforest Report 34
Landslides at Clayouquot
The landslides took place during heavy rains from January 11-14, and two-thirds occurred directly within Clayoquot Sound. Significantly, only 13 percent of the slides were in unlogged, old-growth areas, which establishes the natural rate for slides within the region.
As of last year, logging in Clayoquot Sound is supposed to adhere to recommendations by a B.C. government-appointed science panel, including reductions in the size of clearcuts. Though none of the landslides were located in areas where the Panel's recent guidlines had been implemented, the landslides reitereate the irreparable harm clearcuts inflict on delicate ecosystems, which can also include general erosion, loss of plant and animal biodiversity, and the destruction of salmon streams. Moreover, some slides took place in areas clearcut ten years ago and which had subsequently supported secondary growth. Such interference with ecological regeneration is yet one more way in which clearcutting does permanent damage to the rainforest. Clayoquot Sound has been at the center of an international controversy over the past few years, as environmentalists and other concerned Canadians, joined by supporters worldwide, have struggled against clearcut logging in Clayoquot Sound. A peaceful protest at a logging road in 1993 led to the arrest of more than 800 people. The Clayoquot Rainforest Coalition, which includes Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, Coalition for Forests, Pacific Environment and Resource Center, and Friends of Clayoquot Sound, have been working towards this end. Source: Rainforest Action Network
CANADIAN RAINFOREST NETWORK FORMED
Greenpeace Canada, in conjunction with nineteen other Canadian and U.S. environmental groups, have recently founded an exciting new environmental network called the Canadian Rainforest Network (CRN). The founding of the CRN marks the first time that so many diverse environmental groups in Canada and the U.S. have agreed to work together to protect the ecological integrity of the entire ancient temperate rainforest ecosystem in British Columbia.
British Columbia is home to some of the largest contiguous tracts of intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world. In North America, coastal temperate rainforest used to stretch from northern California to southeast Alaska. Today almost the entire ecosystem has been destroyed south of the Canadian border and very little remains intact in southern British Columbia.
Possibly the largest concentration of remaining intact temperate rainforests in the world is found on the Mainland Coast of British Columbia. Far north of Vancouver, over 60 wild rainforest valleys remain undisturbed between the sea and the coastal mountains. Some of the oldest and largest trees on earth are found in these forests. They provide critical habitat for many endangered old-growth dependent animal and plant species including grizzly bears, wolves, salmon and a rare snow white variation of the black bear called the Spirit Bear. Working together will enable us to raise the public profile of these rare and threatened rainforests nationally and internationally.
The goals of the CRN are to: protect critical ecological areas of the ancient temperate rainforest, stop all clearcutting and road building in the ancient temperate rainforest, support First Nations struggles to protect their traditional territories and to promote sustainable community economic development. If you would like more information about the Canadian Rainforest Network contact Jill Thomas, Coordinator at: Canadian Rainforest Network 1726 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, Canada V5N4A3 ph (604) 251-0411 fx (604) 253-0114 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Earth Sanctuaries Ltd.: Australia's First Conservation Company
"For every dollar spent at an Earth Sanctuary, two dollars is spent actually saving Austrli's wildlife"
Australia is losing wildlife species faster than the whole rest of the world combined. Over half the world's endangered mammals are Australian. We continue to lose them at an increasing rate. Australia is presently losing a mammal species, in the wild, each year. In 1969, an experiment called Warrawong Sanctuary commenced. The hypothesis was simple: the main problem facing Australia's wildlife was feral animals particularly the fox and the cat. Fourteen hectares of land were purchased in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. This state was chosen since, in 1969, it was the only state which allowed the private sector to do serious conservation. The land was fenced with a feral-proof fence. Feral animals were eradicated and all the animals which once lived there were re-introduced.
"Earth Sanctuaries has reintroduced more species of rare and endangered mammals back to the wild than all the National Parks, Wildlife Services and zoos combined"
The results were astounding. All wildlife thrived. The woylie,he rarest and smallest of Australia's kangaroos, increased from 6 to 2000. The potoroo, our most primitive real kangaroo, increased from 4 to 150. The Sydney sub-species of red-necked pademelon, the last surviving sub-species, increased from 4 to 20. Platypus, bandicoot, bettong and wallaby thrived. The hypothesis was proven. To raise funds to carry out further projects using Warrawong Sanctuary as a model, in 1985 Earth Sanctuaries Ltd. was formed as the vehicle to provide investment funds for other Earth Sanctuaries throughout Australia. Warrawong opened to the public as an educational and tourist venue and has since doubled in size to 28 ha. In 1989, work began on the 1,000 ha. Yookamurra Sanctuary in the Murray Mallee. The area was fenced with feral-proof fencing and ferals were eradicated. Of the 20 most endangered Australian mammals, 10 once lived in the Murray Mallee. So far, five have been successfully reintroduced -- the plains mouse, woylie, numbat, bilby, boodie and stick-nest rat. It is planned to reintroduce the other five. Yookamurra Sanctuary is now 2,700 ha. Work has commenced on the 1,800 ha. Buckaringa Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges. This is being developed for the yellow-footed rock-wallaby. Work has also commenced in the 65,000 ha. Scotia Sanctuary in western NSW.
"The most surprising result has been the return to shareholders" In addition, another 15,000 ha. was acquired for Tiparra Sanctuary on Yorke Peninsula and Daklanta Sanctuary on Eyre Peninsula. They will be developed as soon as funds are available.
Earth Sanctuaries has now successfully reintroduced more species of rare and endangered mammals, back to the wild, than all the National Parks, Wildlife Services and zoos of Australia combined. It is Earth Sanctuaries' intention to establish Earth Sanctuaries in all the major habitats of Australia over the next 25 years. This will entail the development of about 100 Earth Sanctuaries, averaging 1,000 square kilometres each. This will mean that over 1% of Australia will be protected from feral animals in 25 years. Earth Sanctuaries believes that this will mean that about 2,100 species of Australian mammal will only live on land managed by Earth Sanctuaries in 25 years. These species will become extinct if this area is not protected. However, Earth Sanctuaries most surprising result has been its return to shareholders. Although Earth Sanctuaries pays only a small dividend, its shares have steadily increased in value over the last eleven years. A healthy secondary market is managed, by B&B Tolhurst, in Earth Sanctuaries shares with the last sale at $1.20. This means that $1 invested in Earth Sanctuaries 10 years ago can be sold for $48 today. This represents a return of over 40% per annum. It would be difficult to find a better investment.
An Earth Sanctuaries prospectus may be obtained by contacting its office at: PO Box 35, Stirling, SA 5152. Phone:(08)3709422, fax:(08)3708332 or Email: email@example.com. Regards, John Wamsley, Managing Director
The Timber Labelling Debate
Why the FSC Must Not Fail
In the June 1995 edition (no.31) of World Rainforest Report, we included an article written on behalf of the Germent rainforest group, Rettet den Regenwald, about the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It raised several basic concerns about the FSC's attempts to introduce a global system of certification for ecologically sound timber, and explained "why the FSC will fail". Since then, Rettet den Regenwald has altered its position. While still critical of the FSC, Rettet den Regenwald nopw believes that "because the FSC has becoe a social and political reality", it will have a major impact on the future of the world's forests. Every effort should be made, says Rettet den Regenwald, to make that impact a posotive one.
Citizens rightly expect their governments to provide for the protection of the environment, but in many cases, governments have clearly failed to do so. They fail at a national level because of pressure from interest groups and they fail all the more on an international level because of diplomatic and economic considerations. This should in no way induce citizens to give up pressuring their governments to provide effective legislation, international agreements and other measures designed to safeguard the environment. States must not be allowed to shirk their duty to contain the destructive effects of economic activities. But citizens have also worked to achieve positive change through organisations such as environmental, human rights or social justice groups. In this context, the certification of environmentally sound products has developed as a mechanism for consumers to use their buying power where governments have failed to regulate economic activities. In the case of the timber trade, governments of countries like the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany have failed to fulfill their obligations. In fact, they have resorted to using certification as a way of allowing themselves and business to evade their responsibilities. Thus the debate over the principles, standards and organisation of certification has in a way become the centre of the international debate on the timber trade.
Achievements of the FSC
Because it is the only certification initiative that works internationally and because it has strived for consensus-building among commercial, ecological, social, southern and northern interests, the FSC has an advantage over every possible alternative. This advantage is increasingly recognized in political and financial circles. These features of the FSC are essential for the public acceptance of certification. In the 3 years of its existence, the FSC has become the only certification initiative that is on the way to widespread acceptance. It is conceivable that politicians in a number of countries and international institutions will adopt and use principles and standards developed by the FSC for their treaties and policies, because the FSC provides them with a system which has gained credibility in the international debate and which achieved what politics fails to provide: consensus.
Making consensus easy - the quiet BIOs
This tremendous, but also somewhat ambiguous, achievement, would probably not have been possible were it not for the fact that two groups of Business Independent Organisations (BIOs) have been largely excluded from the FSC process. Consequently, their interests are not adequately taken into account by the FSC consensus.
Firstly, there are those like the Penan who do not want their forest to be commercialized in any way. Many of such groups have not been asked to become members of the FSC simply because they do not want their forests to be managed or sold.
Such communities are also hampered by the fact that they are often not able to organise very well within a process like the FSC. This is despite the fact that the principles and politics formulated by the FSC will probably affect them more than they will affect anyone else. Political repression will prevent many of these groups from being heard. The continued exclusion of these groups could have fatal consequences for them. It is essential that they take part in the FSC process. They must certainly be given a voice. It will be argued that some NGOs do represent forest people but are they clearly conveying the "stop" message that some forest dwellers rightly demand? It will also be argued that the FSC requires that certifiers asses the social and legal situation in the forests. But should forest peoples trust the certifiers accredited by the FSC?
Secondly, there are those BIOs that have actively exposed the scandalous practices of timber interests and governments with direct actions and publicity-orientated campaigns. Many of them have called on consumers, communities and retailers to take part in boycotts. Some of these groups and individuals have become members of the FSC. But often they do not have the personal and financial capacity to monitor or take part in all the detailed developments around the FSC that will be essential for certification to proceed. Partly, this is the result of the fact that these groups tended to concentrate their activities more on exposing malpractice and creating direct pressure than on formulating FSC principles and policies.
The irony is that to a large extent these groups have created the mounting public pressure that makes the FSC an attractive option to industry and to politicians.
Shortcomings of the FSC policies
FSC stakeholders have widely divergent ideas about what timber should be certifiable. There are the environmental organisations that have embraced the idea of certification with concrete examples in mind: the portable saw mills in Papua New Guinea which enabled communities to resist multinational timber companies and the peasants in Mexico who used their forest as a source of income and thus have incentives and possibilities to preserve it. On the other hand, there are those who expect to certify large-scale timber operations in primary forests in Africa with little outside control and with no access for outsiders to the details of the certification.
We shall soon see how certification under the auspices of the FSC will work in reality. But it is to be feared that many BIOs will be bitterly disappointed and upset. The following aspects of the FSC give cause for concern:
* BIOs have campaigned for years for transparency in international organisations such as the World Bank. They have requested that these institutions release their full project documentations. Yet the FSC provides only for the publication of summarized certification reports by the certifier. Will the BIOs swallow this?
* The BIOs have criticized the high priority given to economic considerations in forest projects, yet the FSC makes the certifier directly dependent on the timber industry. The certifier gets paid by the timber producer. The FSC points out that he gets paid even if he refuses a certificate. But what timber producer will choose a certifier with a record of refusing certificates to important clients? And how could a certification organisation survive if it called for a more thorough investigation but did not get the funds to conduct it?
* The very general FSC Principles and Criteria are meant to be adapted to suit national or regional conditions. The process of developing such standards will allow for many interventions by business and political interests, with predictable results. This is all the more true in countries with repressive governments.
* No provision has been made so far for the exclusion of primary forests from industrial logging. The active input of campaign groups is needed on this issue.
* Given that the stated reason for the FSC's existence is not the streamlining of commerce but the preservation of forests, the FSC should voice opinions about forest policies. So far it has avoided doing so.These are just some examples where the FSC has developed policies that can certainly not be supported by Business Independent Organisations. German NGOs working on forests have already made clear their desire to have these policies changed.
What to do
The FSC provides for a 75 % say for social and environmental groups in the formulation of its policies. In practice, this provision is hampered by the many problems that groups face in coordinating and working within the FSC. Yet the role that the FSC has started to play in politics and public opinion justifies all efforts of groups campaigning for the preservation of forests. The FSC has become a focal point in the discussion on how to define good management of forests and it can be a strong focus for pressure against bad forest practices. It is certainly an instrument that can help to discriminate against timber from bad managed sources. In a situation where governments have completely failed to provide the necessary solutions, the FSC deserves the support of NGOs.
This is a compelling reason for all groups concerned about forests to actively enter the FSC process. As the FSC is a consensus organisation, it cannot be expected that any one interest will be completely satisfied by the FSC. But given the strong position that the FSC reserves for NGOs, it can be expected that NGOs will have a significant impact if they work hard enough.
This is why Rettet den Regenwald (RdR) urges BIOs to become part of the active network of similar groups whose aim is to work within the framework of the FSC for ecologically and socially responsible certification.
At the founding assembly of FSC in Toronto, in 1993, RdR formulated a detailed critique of the FSC and came to the conclusion that the FSC must fail. Many of RdR's predictions have become a reality. Despite this, the conclusion must be altered.
In fact, it can be argued that with the failure of politics in the field of nature conservation, there will be a tendency to have similar private/social solutions for other environmental problems. Thus, a Marine Stewardship Council is in preparation, and other such organisations might follow. This would give the FSC a significant trail-blazing role that transcends its already tremendous importance in preserving of forests. It can be argued that if the FSC process is a success, it can become a model against which other processes can be judged.
Because the FSC has become a social and political reality and depending on how it evolves, will be a major determinant of forest policies for good or ill, we must not let it fail.
What you can do:
* Join the FSC process, become a member
* Get all vital information that you may not have yet. A list of FSC Reports and publications and information for membership applicants are available at the FSC headquarter in Mexico or internet page: > http://antequera.antequera.com/FSC/
* Raise your questions and concerns, table suggestions to improve the FSC
* Actively take part in your national/local debates and initiatives
* Request all further information you wish from either the FSC headquarters or the certifiers
* Cooperate with your timber-related business to help them change their purchasing policies
-Memorandum on the occasion of the 7th Board Meeting, August 1995
-Minutes from the open discussion with NGOs and FSC in Frankfurt, September 1995
-Letter exchange between NGOs and FSC Executive Director
-Declaration of German NGOs on certification
-P&C and other documents published by the FSC
Ecological Resistance Movements - The Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism, edited by Bron Raymond Taylor, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995
Reviewed by Thomas Harding
This book is a collection of essays written by (mostly) academics about radical environmental movements around the world. The editor, Bron Raymond Taylor (Associate Professor of Religion and Social Ethics at the University of Wisconsin), says that the central aim of the book is to understand and represent these diverse movements on their own terms and to describe movement participants' own perceptions about their ecological predicament.
Not only does the book fail to do either of these -- only three out of the 21 contributors claim to be active in grassroots politics, only four are women, and there is almost no verbatim quotation from radical environmentalists themselves throughout the book -- but this statement sets up a dynamic of false authenticity that remains unresolved 400 hundred odd pages later at the end of the book. While reading this book, I fluctuated between thinking at last someone has written a global survey of radical environmentalism and being disappointed that the book lacked depth and conviction. At one point the book is analytical, objective, distant. At the next it is personal, subjective and uncritical. This leaves the reader disorientated, unsatisfied and unable to believe the few moments of true insight.
In the chapter about Earth First!, Taylor, tells us that his book is a personal journey. Since my undergraduate days I have been moved often by what Roger Betsworth calls 'outsider' stories he writes. He explains that his reasons for choosing to study Earth First! started in 1978 when I first read Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang. But then he goes on the defensive, as if denying his own journey of discovery because he has to please some higher academic force: By engaging strange voices and deviant stories...we can deepen understanding and build moral character...my purpose in describing such narratives is not to endorse or promote them... . Taylor's first chapter also includes numerous inaccuracies. He says that the Penan blockades in Malaysia were initiated on the advice of Bruno Manser. In truth the Penan initiated the blockades themselves. Later, Taylor says that in 1989 thirteen international activists arrived in Sarawak, including a woman from Robin Wood, a german radical environment al faction...their purpose to champion the Penan and Dyak resistance. In fact, the action took place in June 1991, there was no german woman from Robin Wood present, and their purpose was to halt the destruction of the Sarawak rainforest in solidarity with the Penan and other Dayak tribes.
A few paragraphs on, he continues to betray his lack of understanding of the Earth First! movement when he uses such phrases as has drawn the attention of Earth First!, and later: Earth First! tends to celebrate... This type of sentence makes you think that Earth First! is a unified, centralised organisation, which couldn't be further to the truth. You have to flick through to a footnote much later on to get his qualification: any discussion of Earth First! is necessarily interpretative and oversimplified. The movement is pluralistic and constantly changing.
But perhaps the most telling of Taylor's contradictions begins with his footnote saying he chooses not to focus on the most troubling ideas and actions of its [Earth First!'s] activists. This is the approach of movement adversaries. But this too often devolves into 'straw man' analysis - tarring an entire movement... Well said indeed! But at the end of the book he resorts to scare mongering. He writes that the apparent escalation of a violent dimension to these conflicts is likely to continue and later it is likely that the conflicts they [ecological movements] engender will be increasingly violent.
One of the most honest essays was David Rothenberg's Have a friend for lunch . Rothenberg discusses the conflict between radical environmentalists such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who want whaling to end in all forms, and traditional environmentalists in Norway who justify whale hunting on grounds of tradition and culture. Included in this essay is one of the best discussions I've seen on the ethics and effectiveness of 'ecotage', monkey wrenching, also known as destruction of property. I hope it [non-violence] can work", says Rothenberg, "because unlike so many other forms of social critique, it does not begin with cynicism and no modern Norwegian needs to hunt to live. It is time for traditions to change.... . I was glad to see the inclusion of Bob Edwards' chapter on the environmental justice movement. The emergence of groups who link environmental devastation with a wider socio-political analysis has had a dramatic effect on the environmental movement in the USA over the past few years. Numerous studies have found, Bob Edward writes, that those who live in close proximity to noxious facilities are disproportionately people of colour or of low income. But during his chapter, Edwards tends to emphasise the middle class NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) groups rather than the politically more significant movement that has emerged from the communities of colour. He is dismissive when he says that the communities of colour were clever in coining the term environmental racism as if this was not a real phenomenon, and fails to explain that it was they who developed the socio-economic analysis behind the term environmental justice.
This and the fact that Edwards does not quote from any of the leadership from the people of colour movement, shows that he failed to consult with the groups concerned. One of the most positive of all essays is Al Geddick's account of international native resistance to ecological destruction.Unlike the other writers, he includes concrete examples of campaigns that have been won by environmental activists. He talks about the Cree Indian success in stopping the Hydro Quebec project in Canada, the Chippewa forcing Exxon to withdraw a mining project in the USA, while native people in Ecuador have brought an unprecedented law suit against Texaco for reckless environmental practices.
As with all books of this kind, the volume suffers from being already out of date.In his essay on radical environmentalism, Wolfgang Rudig hypothesises that two issues have been dominant around the world in the mobilisation of radical environmentalism...nuclear issues and wilderness issues. The absence of these two in the UK political arena, he argues, explains why there have been few cases of a renewal (since the 1970s) of grassroots environmental campaigning. He concedes that there has been some new activism, for instance the motorway protests such as at Twyford Down, but believes that it remains to be seen whether this will lead to a revival of radical environmentalism in Britain in the 1990s.
Now this book was published in 1995 -- three years after the numerous rainforest actions that kicked off Earth First! in 1992 (culminating in nationwide 'ethical shoplifting' of mahogany from timber suppliers), not to mention the huge anti-road protests in 1993 and 1994, and the enormous mobilisations against the Criminal Justice Act which targeted environmentalists and others. By the time he wrote the article, Earth First! had over 60 registered groups around the country! Talk about out of touch. Again, the problems seems to be that the writer is more interested in analysing trends than in reflecting the true state of a political movement.
In contrast, the account of radical environmental activism in Scotland is both accurate and enlightening. The authors not only convey the rich array of activism that has taken place there over the past few years (such as against the Sky toll bridge, the motorway through Pollok Estate in Glasgow and the land struggles that have taken place in the Highlands), but also place such struggles within a historical context of the Scot's struggle against English domination.
There is no chapter on Australia which has been home to one of the most active and successful radical environmental movements in the world. Similarly, the emergence of the green party as a major force in conventional politics -- many party members are still active in blockades and demonstrations -- illustrates a sophistication that the book fails to reflect. In his introduction, Taylor, tells us that the greatest contribution of the book is that it offers those who embark on this global tour of popular ecological resistance a unique opportunity: to think afresh about a variety of pressing ecological, political and moral issues that are raised by the emergence of these movements. I don't think so. To be able to distinguish between the hype, the lies and the odd gem of insight, you must already know a fair bit about these movements. If you are a newcomer to radical ecopolitics I would recommend instead that you read back copies of the Earth First! Journal from the USA, the Earth First! Action Update and Schnews from the UK, or continue to read the journal you are reading right now. That way you will at least be contributing finances to a growing movement rather than some University's publishing house coffers.
Thomas Harding is co-founder of Undercurrents Productions, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing media support to grassroots social and environmental justice groups. It produces the video magazine Undercurrents, which covers the activities of radical environmental and social movements and is published every few months on VHS cassette. The tapes are available from: Undercurrents, 16b, Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1YB, UK. Subscriptions cost 35 pounds for four issues incl p&p.
Bron Taylor replies:
I am glad that Thomas Harding recognizes the importance of critical reflection about grassroots environmentalism. Unfortunately, his review does the reader a disservice. Although it provides a couple of helpful corrections, it does not adequately inform the reader about the scope and findings of the international collaboration eventuating in Ecological Resistance Movements. As this is one of the few books focusing on radical and popular ecological resistance globally, it would be unfortunate if Mr. Harding were to dissuade readers interested in such movements from reading it.
That the volume both engaged and troubled Mr. Harding is an indication of the volume's strength. Ecological Resistance Movements provides diverse case studies and reflections on contemporary ecological resistance movements around the world. It contains sections focusing on specific movements in North America, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Europe. A concluding section explores a variety of theoretical and practical issues posed by them.
My central objective was to assemble an international team to examine grassroots movements campaigning against environmental degradation: particularly those that could or have been labeled radical or militant.
To provide a comparative reference point, I began the volume with a brief overview of Earth First! in North America. This portrait was based on more than five years of field-research and I stand by it. (Yes, its brevity necessitated some oversimplification, but I warned the reader, and pointed them to longer analyses I have published elsewhere.)
With an understanding of the central tendencies in North American radical environmentalism in mind, we then turned to the international case studies. We were guided by questions such as: does it make sense to speak of radical environmentalism in the global context, and if it does, what are its causes and impacts? Our goal was to let the answers emerge organically from our collective research.
Despite significant differences among the movements scrutinized, and various disagreements among the contributors, I ended the volume with generalizations and conclusions based on our research, some of which will be controversial. It is unfortunate that Harding ignored these findings.For example, I argued that certain tendencies could be discerned among these far-flung movements that do make it possible to speak accurately of a global radical environmentalism. But it is not ecocentrism or deep ecological spirituality that constitutes this radicalism. Rather, such resistance is grounded upon the recognition that environmental degradation is threatening human survival as outsiders usually with nation-state and corporate complicityusurp the land for private gain and destroy current (and usually sustainable) livelihoods. These movements are not usually radical because of their ecocentric ideals but because they seek to defend (or reclaim) access to land, to defend (or restore) traditional livelihoods and agrarian practices (including commons-management regimes), and by so doing they fundamentally threaten the property relations attending the globalization of market capitalism. Some participants in the movements we described certainly do express moral and spiritual values that can be labeled ecocentric, but in the global context, such values do not provide a common denominator for radical environmentalism.
That said, our study did show that religions play important and sometimes decisive roles in these movements by providing conceptual and material resources for those engaged in these struggles. Sometimes this is through the invention of new traditions or creative syncretisms such as those evolving within some deep ecology subcultures. Other times this occurs through the transmogrification of established world religions (including monotheistic ones) into versions promoting environmental activism. Thus our empirically-based findings contradict beliefs prevalent among some green thinkers for example that a change in consciousness from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism is prerequisite to environmental action, and that monotheistic traditions are incompatible with environmental sustainability. I would have expected a review to take up such findings.
The reade who does not consider such findings objectionable will likely find something else to dispute in the other major claims in the volume. But Harding has other axes to grind. He complains that the volume lacks depth and conviction.
Perhaps Harding prefers cheerleading to critical analysis. This seems obvious when he proclaims that the best chapters are those reporting concrete examples of campaigns that have been won by environmental activists. But this is a dubious standard. Ecological resistance movements do not usually win and their victories are often subtle, partial, and impermanent. Nevertheless, unacknowledged by Harding, many of the chapters do report on significant victories. Harding also objects to the volume's mixing of genres, criticizing me and the book itself for combining scholarly and personal narrative. If such fusion was done poorly I bear the responsibility. I insisted that contributors place a premium on careful ethnographic description and critical analysis, but I also encouraged them to express their own voices and passions.
As editor, however, I decided to not disclose which among the various narratives I found compelling and inspiring, partly because I did not want to interfere with the reader's own reflections in this regard. This choice apparently bothered Harding. Nevertheless, as I read the volume now, I enjoy seeing both critical analysis and personal passion woven throughout the work. I expected resistance to such genre mixing from traditional academicians, not from activist critics.
Nevertheless, I think the genre-experiment in this volume is worth applauding. If the reactions of other reviewers and my own students are any indication, most readers will not be put off by it. I will happily leave this judgment with the individual reader. I trust that these reflections will convince those seriously interested in radical and popular environmentalism that they should not only consult the literature emerging from radical environmentalists themselves, as is properly recommended by Harding, but that they should also review the work of engaged scholars who believe that critical analysis of such movements can be a contribution to them Insight inheres to neither activist nor academic alone.
Indeed, Ecological Resistance Movements resists a variety of dichotomies, and the genre itself resists the dichotomy between activists (good-engaged) and academics (bad-detached). (Harding implies just such a dichotomy when he complains that only three of twenty one contributors are overtly active in grassroots politics.) Such dichotomies are problematic I don't know any academics who study grassroots environmentalism who are not also animated by activist passion even if they do not make a big show about it.
Harding's review includes points worth considering as well as misrepresentations based on uncareful reading. It would be tedious to respond to each misrepresentation. With two exceptions, I will leave it up to those who consult Ecological Resistance Movements to decide whether Harding's specific criticisms of individual chapters have merit.
I wrote numerous letters soliciting contributions on Australia, and received two submissions, neither of which was of an appropriate quality or focus. My judgment in this regard was confirmed by SUNY's anonymous reviewers.Upon this determination, there was no time left to solicit additional chapters (ironically, because we wanted the volume to be as up-to-date as possible), and because the volume was already too long. I had also envisioned a chapter on Indonesia, but the scholar-activist commissioned to write it dropped out at the last minute due to an escalation of repression in his homeland. These problems aside, it is unrealistic and unfair to complain that one or another country was omitted. No single volume can attend to all the examples of popular resistance unfolding around the planet. Such complaints are provincial, for example, as when the Times Literary Supplement in London, in a positive review, nevertheless complained that insufficient attention was paid to Europe.
The most egregious misrepresentation is Harding's review is his claim that I engaged in sensationalist scare mongering when mentioning the likelihood of escalating violence in environment-related social conflicts. It is not scare-mongering in the sense implied fanning a fear of ecological resistance movements to note that violence attends such environment-related conflicts and that, as resistance intensifies, violent repression escalates.
A careful and fair-minded reader will clearly see that the volume as a whole, and my own contributions in particular, stress that most environ ment-related violence targets participants in popular movements. Moreover, I clearly indicated my concern about the continuation and escalation of such reactionary violence against movement participants in a section entitled Ecological Resistance Meets Reactionary Response (see 343-44). These reflections indicate that Ecological Resistance Movements, while challenging certain green orthodoxies, provides provocative voices and perspectives. I hope that readers of these comments will take the time to decide for themselves if the volume's stories of resistance inform, inspire, and can contribute to concrete and intelligent environmental action.
Bron Taylor Director, Environmental Studies, The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Religious Studies & Anthropology Dept., Oshkosh, WI 54901, USA. Ph.414/424-7183 fax: 414/424-0882e-mail: Taylor@vaxa.cis.uwosh.edu
Imperiled Waters, Impoverished Future
A new Worldwatch Paper, Imperiled Waters, Impoverished Future: The Decline of Freshwater Ecosystems, demonstrates that giant dams, massive irrigation systems, and widespread logging often bring few economic benefits, and instead cause environmental degradation, poverty and suffering, as well as irreplaceable loss of biodiversity. Freshwater ecosystems are both disproportionally rich and disproportionally imperiled. Some 20% of 9,000 known freshwater fish species worldwide are already extinct or imperiled, with the toll much higher where human impact is heavy. Senior researcher Janet N. Abramovitz, author of the report, said, As alarming as these numbers are, the rate of extinction is even more alarming. . .we are running a 'biodiversity deficit' that can never be recovered. She added, If these losses had occurred overnight they would have made headlines worldwide, and the full weight of government and business would be brought to bear to save freshwater fish species and fisheries.
20% of freshwater fish species worldwide are extinct or imperiled
Based on successes and studies worldwide, the report recommends basic changes in policy: recognize that the values that intact ecosystems provide before short-term decisions cause long-term losses; and that governments, lenders, and businesses recognize that many development projects, however glamorous they may seem, can actually reduce economic benefits.
Despite the evidence of clear dollars-and-sense relationships which show the folly of many large-scale developments, governments, engineers, and investors are entering into devil's bargains of mega-projects that will enrich a few in the short-term, but impoverish many in the long term.
In the Mekong River in southeast Asia, maintaining the natural flow of the river allows 52 million people to support themselves with little capital investment. Any plan to dam and divert the river that would reduce the flow of the Mekong by 50% and provide electricity and water for Thailand's booming economy would push the region's people further into poverty and saddle them with a burden of debt.
The report shows that great improvements can be made in managing natural resources to avoid losses like the above. The amount of heavy metals entering the Rhine River have been reduced by 90% since the 1970s. In the Pacific Northwest, a shift is beginning towards non-damaging economic uses of natural resources such as recreation and non-timber forest products.
Yet Abramovitz cautions that without changes in national and international policies, and greater cooperation, the decline is likely to continue. The key to stopping this needless destruction and repairing damage already done requires abandoning the fragmented approach to managing rivers and their watersheds. The cost of restoring the natural flows to rivers would not be nearly as costly and disruptive as many would have us believe.
We already know the heavy price that regulated rivers, dam construction, water diversion and pollution, alien species, fisheries mismanagement, and habitat degradation and fragmentation can exact from a region. The time has come to act on a corollary principle: over the long-term, keeping naturally functioning ecosystems healthy will offer the greatest number of benefits for the greatest number of people. For further information, refer to the Worldwatch Econet conference: worldwatch.news; or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
**The paper is not available via e-mail
Govt. & Timber Co's in Breach of Law?
The PNG state and a logging company linked to the giant Malaysian logger Rimbunan Hijau may have breached the Organic Law on provincial and Local-level Governments. Last week The Independent reported that a purported extension of the Buhem Bugeng and Bugeng Mongi Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) agreements in the Morobe province, signed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Finace Minister Chris Haiveta on July 29, 1995, is illegal as it was not genuinely renegotiated with all landowners from the area. The landowners also argued that the purported extension was entered into two years after the original 20-year TRP agreement had expired. It has now been brought to the landowners' attention that the state and the logging company, Low Impact Logging Pty Ltd, may be in breach of Section 115 and 116 of the new Organic Law on Provincial and Local-level Governments which is in force. These two sections basically require that there is consultation between the developers, the provincial and loca-level governments and the landowners. The landowners claim that there has been no consultation. Landowner spokesman Paul Itama says the majority of the landowners had not agreed to the extension and had wanted to take charge of the resource. Source: The Independent (PNG), March 15, 1996
No Trees, No Future
A Chilean court has halted work on a controversial U.S.-owned forestry project to log ancient beech trees in southern Chile after a petition from environmentalists, the newspaper El Mercurio reported Thursday. Local ecologists claimed the decision by the Regional Environmental Commission (Corema) to approve the scheme to exploit the woodlands on the remote island of Tierra del Fuego was illegal and arbitrary.
We asked the court for an injunction and to order Corema's resolution void as it is shameful to the country, said Congressman Guido Girardi, who supported the petition. Corema officials approved the plan this year after overruling their own technical committee, which recommended that the project should not be allowed to go ahead. Environmentalists say the plan by Trillium, based in Bellingham, Washington, will cause irreparable damage to the forest, one of the few untouched native woodlands left in Chile. Trillium insists it will cull only mature trees and says its project guarantees the forest's future growth. Source: Reuters 9/5/96
No Trees, No Future
Signs put up recently by officials all over Cambodia declare that "Trees are the future of Cambodia,". If that is so, then Cambodia has no future, since the country's government has signed over almost all remaining forest to foreign logging companies. Sixteen million hectares of the country's already depleted forests have been signed over to foreign companies in 30 recent contracts. One contract alone is for 1.9 million acres to Samling, a Malaysian company with a reputation for destructive practices. Some observers claim that the signing of the contracts by Cambodia's leaders is unconstitutional. The international outcry which followed revelations about Cambodia's massive forest selloff prompted the country's leaders to say they would review the contracts and cancel them if they were deemed to be not in the national interest. They have asked the United Nations and the World Bank to prepare an inventory of the remaining forests in the country. However, environmentalists remain unconvinced. "I don't have any faith in their political will to re-think their forest policy. Once the heat is off, they'll proceed as before," said Patrick Alley, director of environmental group Global Witness.
Environmental groups, opposition politicians and King Norodom Sihanouk have all expressed outrage at the signing of the contracts. "Ministers and officials of the royal Cambodian government are heavily implicated in the destruction of Cambodia's forests and are sanctioning activities contrary to the constitution of Cambodia," the UK-based environmental group Global Witness charged in a report.
King Sihanouk warned ''if this deforestation does not stop, Cambodia will be, alas, a desert country in the 21st century.'' In the last 25 years, Cambodia's forested area has shrunk dramatically from more than 70 % to little more than 20% of the country's area..
According to government officials, the concessions exclude 8.2 million acres of forest. However, they base their claim on a 1993 estimate that Cambodia has 24.7 acres forested. Most observers believe an estimate of 17.3 million acres is more realistic. Since16 million acres have been given to foreign companies in the new contracts, only a million acres remains unclaimed by logging contracts if these observes are right..
Global Warming: Hydro Schemes Damned
It has been widely claimed that unlike fossil-fuel power plants, hydroelectric schemes produce no greenhouse gases. They are therefore seen as an environmentally sound alternative power source by governments around the world. However, a report in New Scientist magazine (4 May 1996 p.29) claims that through the decomposition of inundated vegetation, many large dams release large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. As a result, says New Scientist, some reservoirs cause more global warming than coal- or oil-fired power stations producing the same amount of energy .Philip Fearnside, an ecologist at Brazil's National Research Institute for Amazonia, studied the gases emitted by the Balbina Dam on the River Uatama, a tributary of the Amazon. As is the case for many similar schemes, the dam's builders made no effort to remove trees before site was flooded.
Balbina is relatively shallow, but covers an area the size of Luxembourg and contains more than 100 million tons of vegetation. Most of the carbon contained in the vegetation will be gradually released into the atmosphere as either methane or CO2.
Fearnside estimates that in its first year in the mid-80's, Balbina emitted the equivalent of 12 million tonnes of CO2. By 1990, the yearly emissions had fallen to 7 million tonnes. He predicts the figure will fall to 1 million tonnes in about ten years' time, and 0.5 million in about 50 years. If the Balbina dam had not been built, conventional power station would have been constructed instead. A conventional plant with a similar power output would have emitted about 0.4 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Despite the reduction in emissions over time, says Fearnside, Balbina will continue to be more polluting that a comparable fossil-fuel plant for over 50 yeas, and probably indefinitely . Fearnside has investigated other reservoirs in Brazil. The figures are not as bad as they are for Balbina, but the emissions are still significant. According to Fearnside, the giant Turui Dam on the River Tocantins is still emitting over half the emissions which could be expected from a conventional dam with the equivalent output. Brazil plans a massive increase in hydroelectric schemes which would result in an annual output of the equivalent of over 200 million tonnes of CO2 three times the country's current annual emissions from burning fossil fuels. Studies of hydro schemes in temperate regions have yielded similar findings. John Rudd and his associates at the Canadian Government's Freshwater Research Institute in Winnipeg estimated that emissions from all of Canada's hydroelectric reservoirs will be the equivalent of 13.8 million tonnes of CO2. Worldwide, the New Scientist article estimated, hydro schemes would emit a total of 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent about 7% of the total man-made emission of greenhouse gases. Despite this, not one country has yet included emissions from hydro schemes in their calculations of greenhouse gas emissions for he Climate Change Convention. Fearnside points out that, with many more dams planned, hydroelectric schemes are a significant source of emissions of greenhouse gases that can no longer be ignored .
Source: New Scientist, 4 May 1996.
Greenpeace Celebrates Nation's First World Heritage Listing
In December 1995, Greenpeace applauded the decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to add the Komi Forests, a huge expanse of pristine forest in European Russia, to the World Heritage List. The decision by UNESCO supports Greenpeace's efforts to protect the largest untouched forest area in Europe from the impact of logging companies, oil exploration and mining interests in the midst of an environmental and economic crisis in Russia. The Komi Forest Listing, on the western slopes of the Ural Mountains, covers an area larger than Belgium.
The 3.2 million hectare virgin Komi Forest site in the Republic of Komi, North East of Moscow contains a variety of ecosystems and rare species. It is one of the most valuable stores of taiga forest and wetland biodiversity values in Europe. It is home to healthy populations of brown bear, beaver, otter wood grouse and sable, as well as many other rare or endangered species such as the arctic sorrel. The Virgin Komi Forests came under direct threat from many sides in 1994. Foreign timber companies sought contracts to begin clearcut logging along the Pechora and Ilych Rivers, while one of the world's largest oil spills destroyed the river and villages downstream. While Greenpeace campaigners exposed the oil destruction downstream of the nomination site, Greenpeace Forests staff completed a successful campaign to stop French and Austrian logging companies from using destructive and unsustainable clearcutting methods on Komi territory
This year, Greenpeace Russia will prepare a World Heritage nomination for the Green Belt of Fennoscandia, the enormous area of oldgrowth forest that border with Finland left untouched during the Cold War. These valuable forests are coming under intense pressure from timber interests in Scandinavia, while existing and planned logging operations in the region have been deeply opposed by scientists and environmental groups, including Greenpeace. A further five World Heritage nominations were prepared by Greenpeace Russia in 1995, for potential listing by UNESCO in 1996.
In brief these nominations sites are:
* Pristine forests in Primorsky Krai in the Far East (4 million hectares and the principal habitat of the endangered Amur tiger and the Far East leopard).
* The Volcanoes of Kamchatka (4 million hectares of stunning forests, salmon streams and volcanoes).
* Sources of the Great Ob of the Altai Mountains in Central Siberia (6.5 million hectares of virgin mountain taiga).
* Vodlozero Park in the Northwest of European Russia (1 million hectares, Europe's largest intact wetland and old-growth boreal forest ecosystem).
* Ubsunur Hollow in Tuva Republic and Mongolia (7.5 million hectares, a Cultural-Natural project carried out in conjunction with the Mongolian government).
Source: Greenpeace International
Bad Harvest, Country by Country
According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), logging is the major cause of global deforestation (see WRR .33, p.3). The report, Bad Harvest?, refutes claims made by some forest industry representatives that logging plays a secondary role in global deforestation.
Bad Harvest? included a survey of threats to forests, on a country by country basis:
According to the WWF report, forests of the Mediterranean region are threatened by fire, development, tourism, and some forestry, while lowland conifer and broadleaf forests of Scandinavia are highly endangered from industrial forestry. Uplands forests of Britain are at risk from sheep, deer grazing, tourism and changes in land use, according to WWF. The survey reported that old-growth forests in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and the former Yugoslavia rapidly being felled for timber trade.
Bad Harvest? reported that West African tropical rainforests are rapidly being depleted by logging and clearance for agriculture. Subtropical dry forests in East Africa are rapidly disappearing through agriculture, fuel gathering, over-grazing, war refugees, WFF said. Relic temperate forests in South Africa are threatened with encroachment and climate change. The survey found that forests in Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia under threat from grazing, logging.
On the Pacific Northwest coast of the USA and Canada, the report said, forests are being logged out. and there is increased logging for pulp in Canadian boreal regions. Alaskan rainforest is being logged by U.S., Japanese timber companies. Key forest fragments in central Canada, southern United States at risk of further losses, the survey claims. Subtropical forests in Florida are threatened by development, and resultant changes in the water table.
According to Bad Harvest?, Central American forests are probably being cleared faster than almost anywhere else, especially in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua. The report indicated that losses are continuing in the Amazon basin, where area the size of Europe has already been stripped from ranching, logging and settlement. Temperate beech forests of Chile and Argentina are being logged, replaced with pine plantations, the report said
It was reported that the eucalyptus forests of mainland Australia, especially in the southwest, and in Tasmania, are being destroyed and replaced by plantations while rainforests in Queensland are threatened by development. Bad Harvest? reported that tropical forests in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are being logged, including illegal operations.
The Himalayan regions of Nepal, India and Bhutan are being logged and degraded for fuel and fodder, the report said, while lowland forest of India and Nepal are being rapidly, often illegally, logged. Bad Harvest? also reported that the forests of China are badly depleted, and losses are continuing, especially in Tibet. Rainforests and mangroves in the Philippines have been reduced to fragments, which are still being illegally degraded, the survey said. Forests in Malaysia and Indonesia are being rapidly cleared by farmers, loggers, for pulp plantations. The report found that forests have already been reduced to fragments over much of Thailand, and the ban on logging in Thailand has increased pressure on neighbouring countries Burma, Cambodia and Laos.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
East Sepik Ecoforestry Project
We all work together. Whatever we come up with we discuss it with the people. That is the way we are running this project. So says community leader Arnold Kombo. Arnold and other villagers from Nangumarum in East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, have been running a successful portable sawmilling operation for six years. The project started with the cutting of timber on land owned by the people of Nangumarum. Then, as word of the wokabout somill spread, landowners from surrounding villages began to invite the project to come an cut trees on their land. No trees are cut without the full support of the customary landowners. In turn, the customary landowners constantly monitor the sawmilling in their forests and receive fair payment for the timber.
"After six years of operating their own wokabout somill,they have shown they do not need to sell their forest to destructive transnational companies"
Community participation has been the key to the success of the project, explains community leader Chris Yafanduo: The wokabout somill is something new to the community which I'm very proud of. I see that the community is well involved in the changes that are taking place.
The Nangumarum villagers have not been formally trained in ecology or forest management. When they fell trees, they choose those which are accessible and can be sold easily. Training in forest management would enable them to select trees according to ecological considerations.
The people of Nangumarum use two wokabout somills" to cut their timber. The sawmill is carried manually into the forest and set up adjacent to the trees to be felled. On average about three or four trees are cut before the sawmill is moved on, leaving behind a gap in the forest canopy of up to twenty metres by twenty metres. With disturbance of the canopy kept to a minimum, the rainforest is better able to recover.
The trees are milled on the spot and the timber is carried out along narrow bush tracks. No new roads are needed for their sawmilling project. The sawmills operate up to a kilometre away from existing roads, so that the cut timber is carried out of the bush by hand and then by road.
The work of carrying timber is usually done on the weekend by community youth groups, church groups or women's groups as a way of raising funds for community projects. The sawmill has provided much-needed employment for the people of the village and has helped arrest the trend of young people leaving the village to look for work in the cities. The sawmill also provides timber for community projects, a village home building scheme, and as any visitor to the village can see, it is a source of pride for the village. Initially the sawmill was intended to provide for a village house building project. After discussing their needs, the villagers decided that a village timber yard should be established and all timber sold at the market rate. The house building project continued, with timber purchased from the village timber yard.
Two sawmills each produce about a cubic metre of timber per working day. About half the timber is sold locally from the timber yard, and half is sold in the nearby town of Wewak. The project has also exported timber to other urban areas. Because making money was not the sole reason the project was set up, little profit is made at the moment. The sawmill project we have here is not for the sake of making business alone, says Arnold Kombo. We use this project as vehicle to bring in revenue and we direct those funds into the community and building our villages. We've got to have good schools built up, we've got to have an improved housing system, health services and all the most basic services we need.
When the sawmilling project commenced it was the first of its kind in the region. There was little access to training programmes and the project would probably not have survived if its staff did not already have experience in mechanical repair and small business management. In future, any newly-established sawmilling projects like this one will need improved access to training programmes in equipment maintenance, business management and ecoforestry management.
The bottom line
After six years of operating their own wokabout somill, the people of Nangumarum have shown that they do not need to sell their forest to transnational companies for destructive logging to supplement their livelihood.
Arnold Kombo explains why the village has chosen ecoforestry: I really object to the idea of having large companies here because I know very well it is not going to bring something goods. I have seen quite a number of them. They were doing logging where so much destruction was done with trucks making feeder roads. There was destruction like trees cut down unnecessarily, small trees and vegetation cleaned up, eventually leaving the land barren and then having grasses growing instead of trees. In places the water sources became dry and people had to go so far away to look for water.
We would not like to see the natural environment pass away. The future generations will never see it again. We would like to keep the natural beauty to remain as it is today. So for that reason we have to care for the environment as well as making benefits like taking wood out to improve homes by building houses, residences or community buildings or any other projects.
So in large scale logging I see a lot more disadvantages than smaller operations like the wokabout somill we have here in Nangumarum village.
McDonald's Exposed at McLibel Trial
The McLibel Trial is a mammoth legal battle between the $26 billion a year McDonald's Corporation and two supporters of London Greenpeace - Helen Steel (30) and Dave Morris (41) - who between them have an annual income of less than 7,000 Pounds Sterling. McDonald's are suing Steel & Morris for libel over a factsheet produced by London Greenpeace, entitled What's Wrong With McDonald's, which McDonald's allege they distributed in 1989/90.
The Trial began on 28th June 1994 and became the longest civil case in British history in December 1995. A total of approximately 180 UK and international witnesses are giving evidence in court about the effects of the company's operations on the environment, on human health, on millions of farm animals, on the third world, and on McDonald's own staff.
They include environmental and nutritional experts, trade unionists, animal welfare experts, McDonald's employees, top executives, and four infiltrators employed by McDonald's.
The Trial is set to run until Summer 1996.
Testimonies to Destruction The section of the McLibel Trial on the connections between McDonald's and rainforest destruction (particularly in Central and South America) began on 22nd February, with the testimony of Ray Cesca (Director of Global Purchasing of the McDonald's Corporation).
McDonald's has been enmeshed in controversy over its global promotion of beef consumption - (it spends $1.5 billion annually on advertising and promotions, and is the world's largest user of beef) - despite the huge damage that cattle ranching has inflicted on tropical forests. The Corporation has already had to recognise such damage (McDonald's letter 26 July 1982) but has tried to fob off its critics with claims that around the world they have never used any meat from cattle raised in former rainforests
(as stated in public announcements and official private letters, in the hands of the defendants, dated from 22 Feb 1983 to Sept 1992).
At the start of the McLibel Trial, Richard Rampton QC (for McDonald's) claimed that no beef had ever been exported to McDonald's anywhere in the world from rainforest countries. The defendants argue that these are blatant untruths and will be proven to be so. The defendants are seeking Mr Cesca's explanation for the following:
(1) Central American Beef Imports The Marketing Director of Coop Montecillos (McDonald's sole hamburger processing plant for their Costa Rican stores) stated in a filmed interview in 1982:
We export meat to the US, 70% of the meat goes to food production outlets such as restaurant chains like McDonald's... Q. Which fast food chains do you supply? A. We supply McDonald's and Burger King. (From film Jungleburger, shown in court).
(2) Ex-Rainforest Land Used in Costa Rica Richard Rampton QC (for McDonald's) admitted on the first day of the McLibel Trial:
In Costa Rica, when the first McDonald's restaurant was opened in 1970, some of the land on which the beef was raised had been rainforest up to the 1960s., ie. destroyed less than 10 years before. (From official court transcript.)
(3) Row with Prince Phillip McDonald's UK secretly imported 5 consignments of Brazilian beef in 1983/4, as admitted by the company's witnesses during the trial. This followed a blazing row in 1983 between George Cohon (McDonald's Canadian President) and Prince Philip (President of the World Wildlife Fund) over Brazilian beef. (As described in the witness box by David Walker, Chairman of McKeys, McDonald's supply plant.) Brazilian beef has also been exported for McDonald's use in Switzerland and Argentina in the 1990s (admitted by Dr Gomez Gonzales, McDonald's International Meat Purchasing Manager, in the witness box).
(4)Damage Caused by Brazilian Beef McDonald's Brazilian stores have been supplied with beef from regions where ranches have damaged the environment and caused the eviction of peasant farmers.
Displacement of small farmers is recognised by McDonald's to be a major cause of rainforest destruction as they have little alternative but to move into the Amazon region to seek new land (by cutting the trees). McDonald's has been supplied by a meat packing plant at Cuiaba* (inside the official Amazon region and virtually bordering rainforest areas of Rondonia, a region devastated by cattle ranching).
(5)Guatemalan Beef from Former Rainforest The General Manager of McDonald's hamburger supplier in Guatemala (Procasa) has admitted that they use beef from regions deforested in the 1940s and early 1950s. (Statement 7 June 1993.)
(6) EC Cattle fed on Brazilian Soya Feed
Brazilian exports of soya for cattle feed are controversial due to destruction of tropical forests for soya production. McDonald's have accepted that Germany in the 1980s was the main importer of Brazilian soya feed, most of which went to feed cattle in Bavaria - the source of McDonald's German beef supplies. (Statement of McDonald's witness.) German beef has also been regularly supplied for McDonald's UK use (as accepted by David Walker of McKeys).
Defence witnesses include: - Charles Secrett, Director of Friends of the Earth, who participated in meetings in 1985 between FoE and McDonald's regarding rainforest destruction. - David Rose, a journalist for the Observer who interviewed a McDonald's PR representative in 1993 concerning Costa Rican rainforest destruction. - George Monbiot, an expert on Brazilian Amazon deforestation.
Biodiversity is cool
Recent research confirms that loss of species threatens ecosystem functioning and sustainability. Scientists have found yet more reason to worry about the estimated 27,000 species which die out every year. A research by a team led by ecologist David Tilman of the University of Minnesota has confirmed that the greater the biodiversity of an ecosystem, the healthier it is. The researchers studied small plots of prairie land containing varying numbers of plant species. Reporting their results in science journal Nature, the scientists wrote:
"Our results demonstrate that the loss of species threatens ecosystem functioning and sustainability. They found that the greater the number of plant species in an area of prairie, the better all the plants in the plot did. There were more plants, they grew larger and they used nitrogen more efficiently. Nitrogen is a major source of nutrition for plants. Nitrogen was utilized more completely when there was a greater diversity of species , the team reported in Nature.The study was the first of its kind to be conducted in the field rather than in greenhouses.
Plant ecologist Johannes Knops, who worked on the study, pointed out that if you look at the plot, you see less bare soil. "Our 147 plots", the researchers reported in Nature, "were planted with either one, two, four, six, eight 12 or 24 species ... from a pool of 24 North American prairie species".
Nearby natural grasslands exhibited the same trends observed in the plots that had been cultivated by the scientists. During a sudden and severe drought in 1995, Tilman's group found that grasslands with the most species were the most resilient. The findings of Tilman's team were supported by the 1995 work of John Lawton of London's Imperial College of Science and Technology. Lawton created simple ecosystems using plants, insects and other invertebrates. The more different plants and insects there were, the healthier all the creatures in the ecosystems were.
Peter Kareiva, a zoologist at the University of Washington, called for more such studies to be conducted. "The new work is a milestone on the road to ecological research", he wrote. The results can be directly related to debates about the preservation of Earth's variety of life forms. The case for preserving species is based on more than just science, Kareiva added. No one wants to tell their grandchildren that they passively watched as ignorance and greed led to the loss of richness of the world's flora and fauna.