11th Hour Editorial

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by nbs2, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #1
    This editorial was written partially in response to the upcoming film by Leonardo DiCaprio. What surprises me is that his arguments are much more compelling than the typical it's-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it prophesies that turn people off of environmentalism, yet you never hear these ideas.

    The best way to make any change is to convince everybody that it is good. Doesn't it make more sense to promote a solution that everybody can live with rather than an absolutist position that so many seem to take these days? Why don't moderate solutions like this get more airplay?

     
  2. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #2
    His argument makes a lot of sense. For me, though, the problem isn't that they cut down trees, it's the way in which they do it. I have family on the coast of British Columbia and I spend a good deal of time up there. Driving through Vancouver Island you'll notice many large ugly gashes in the treeline on the sides of the mountains. The lumber companies don't just go in and take what they need, they will plow through an area, completely destroying all the trees that are there, taking only the few that they want and leaving a big mess behind. If they would just go in and cut down only what they need, leaving the rest still intact and planting new trees where they removed the old ones, the forests could remain intact longer and their deforestation wouldn't be such an eyesore. I'm no environmentalist, but this bothers me a great deal.
     
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #3

    The biggest issue I have with logging in the Canadian west is the lack of replanting.
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    You got that right. It's fine to use wood and it's fine to cut down trees, but there has to be a plan to replace them. Even my super right-wing Dad gets irritated by deforestation. He always says, "Sure, cut them down but you have to replace them!". He gets extremely pi**ed off when he doesn't see that happening.
     
  5. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #5
    I haven't spent much time in the Canadian West (or Canada for that matter), but do you know if the logging companies are planting elsewhere? It may not be as pretty as replacing in the same place, but if they cut one tree down by Vancouver and plant another near Toronto, as long as there is enough in Vancouver to prevent erosion and all that, it doesn't seem like a major problem.

    Of course, the fact that guy had to write this editorial, make me wonder if the logging companies are even doing that. The only industry I've looked at, the major paper companies, are really pretty good about replanting and work primarily off of tree farms.
     
  6. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #6
    Different microclimates affect trees differently. A douglas fir planted on Vancouver Island is going to live for hundreds of years and sequester a lot more carbon than an ash tree in Toronto. All trees are not equal, nor are all tree growing areas. That is the number one reason why the Amazon is so important. There's no off season down there so trees are constantly growing and constantly trapping carbon.

    Tree planting schemes in Toronto may make its citizens feel good but if they're designed to offset deforestation along Canada's pacific coast, then it's just urban egoism.

    The big issue when it comes to logging is ownership of the land. If it's privately owned, of course it's going to be replanted. Private owners are dependent upon future harvests for income. No trees, no income, simple as that.

    When it comes to government owned land it's a different story. The lumber companies may possibly have to replant but due to the phenomenal amount of land involved, there's simply no way to monitor the success of replantings, much less whether they ever took place.

    When Halie Salasie took over Ethiopia, one of his first projects was to do something about deforestation. He decided that eucalyptus was the way to go. Good building wood, good firewood, low water needs, etc. In other words the perfect tree for a land like Ethiopia.

    Unfortunately, he chose probably the worst possible tree. Eucalyptus leaves are high in oil and extremely flammable. It wasn't long before fires were ravaging the countryside. Eucalyptus also are very fast growing and as with all fast growing plants, heavy feeders and consumers of water. In many areas, the groundwater sank up to ten feet within a matter of years and much of the soil was so degraded that nothing else could live there. Eucalyptus also spreads through its roots. You could burn it down, cut it down, poison it and it would still come back.

    Vancouver has spent tens of millions on removing their urban flowering cherry trees due to disease. Urban trees cost much more to maintain and when they start dying are extremely expensive to remove.

    I could go on and on but the point is that a reasonable amount of care needs to go into tree planting. If not, the solution can sometimes be worse than no trees at all
     
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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  8. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #8
    But, while trees can act as carbon sponges, the activity to log these trees incurs a significant carbon cost. Furthermore, this assumes that the trees are made into furniture (and we'll ignore the chemical processes that also pollute to stain and protect modern furniture) and isn't burned or otherwise used in a way that releases the carbon.

    11th Hour may be a polemic, but I'm not interested in attacking it's message because I think it's important for people to realize that their everyday decisions have a global effect.
     
  9. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #9
    I hope that's true. There's a pretty good sized Weyerhauser paper mill just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, so I would assume that they are one of the main recipients of these trees being cut down. It seems kind of sad, when you think about it, that centuries old virgin forests are being cut down just to make paper. I can see if it was going to make furniture or something that needed high quality wood, but paper could be made even out of old scrap wood, couldn't it? Again, I'm no environmentalist, but Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful places on earth and I'd hate to see that beauty disappear just so I can have higher quality paper in my laser printer.
     

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