by Marie Dolcini
No matter how you slice it -- saw, nail, or sand it -- with less than 4
percent of the world's old-growth redwoods remaining, and only half of
that enjoying permanent protection, the best use is to leave them
standing in permanently protected groves. That's the message the Sierra
Club and its coalition partners are broadcasting as part of a new
campaign strategy centering on an old-growth redwood consumer advisory.
The campaign was launched in early February by the Sierra Club,
Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network with a kick-off event in
Los Angeles calling for consumers and dealers everywhere to take action
to save our last old-growth redwood forests. Campaign organizers were
joined by actors Steven Segal and Ed Asner and singer Bonnie Raitt and
distributed a national mailing to more than 6,000 architects, builders,
do-it-yourselfers and lumber dealers, urging recipients to stop
purchasing, distributing and using ancient redwood. The letter
explained the threats to the redwood ecosystem and asked recipients to
instead shift to certified redwood from well-managed second-growth
forests and to alternatives such as non-wood products. Consumers are
being urged to follow through by calling on neighborhood businesses to
pledge against buying and distributing old-growth redwood.
Old-growth ecosystems are important ecologically because they provide
critical habitat for imperiled species such as coho salmon -- down to 1
percent of its former population in California -- and the marbled
murrelet. None-theless, ancient redwood is still frequently used to
make products such as hot tubs and outdoor decks.
"Decreasing the demand for ancient redwood, as well as enforcing
federal protections for species like the coho, are essential to
protecting our redwood ecosystem," said Calif./Nev./Hawaii Associate
Representative Elyssa Rosen. "We want to give people an opportunity to
take action and let the logging industry and our leaders in Washington,
D.C., know that we're not going to go away, and this is a powerful new
component to efforts to protect these ancient trees from increased
Within its first few weeks, a dozen small lumber yards and
architectural associations had signed on to the grassroots campaign.
Now Club volunteers are creating momentum by generating thousands of
signatures at tabling events near select outlets and home improvement
centers across the country.
"Cutting down rare 2,000-year-old trees for consumer products doesn't
make sense anymore, but our government leaders are still waffling about
protection," said California State Forestry Chair Kathy Bailey. "It's
up to the public to tell the timber industry to stop logging ancient
redwoods right now."
To take action: Please take the following three-step commitment, and
ask others to do the same:
- Refrain from purchasing old-growth redwood. Contact
your local lumber suppliers, architect associations, contractors and
home improvement centers and ask them to make the same pledge.
- Send a letter to the editor of your local paper calling for
consumers and lumber dealers to stop buying and distributing old-growth
- If possible, send copies of letters you write in support of the
consumer campaign to the Sierra Club Calif./Nev./Hawaii office at 4171
Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611.
For more information:
Contact Elyssa Rosen at (510) 450-1389; e-mail:
For information on buyers committed to
purchasing certified wood products, contact Environmental Advantage, 1
Wall Street Tower, 20 Exchange Place Floor 32, New York, NY 10005;
(888) 981-5858; e-mail:
For information on certified lumber, contact EcoTimber
International, 1020 Heinz Ave., Berkeley, CA 94701; (501) 549-3000;
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