When Environmental Radicalism Is More Harmful Than Good

Commentary When mindless environmental zealotry turns into environmental vandalism and economic destruction something is badly wrong. What turns the wrong into an inexcusable outrage is when the government allows it to occur, ignoring the common good which is at stake. This is exactly the state of play in the state of Victoria where the debt-ridden government has been able to find $200 million (US$130 million) to close the environmentally friendly native forest sector within the next seven months, with the devastation of rural communities and the loss of hundreds of jobs. Using taxpayer funds, in a time of a debt crisis, to pay people to stop producing a much-needed environmentally friendly resource that alleviates a pressing housing shortage is irresponsibility writ large. The native forestry sector provides wood for a host of purposes from home building to biomass. Wood products are carbon stores. As trees grow, they remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it. As the tree dies, or its wood decays, the carbon is slowly released back into the atmosphere. Logged trees in Mountain Ash forest, Victoria, Australia, on April 30, 2018. (AAP Image/The Australian National University) Old-growth forests provide an equilibrium being in general terms CO2 neutral. The same amount of CO2 is absorbed by the newly growing trees as is emitted by the decaying and dying trees. Native forests on the other hand are regrowth forests that have already been harvested. Being harvested before the dying process sets in, they are net absorbers of CO2 from the atmosphere. As they are harvested a new crop is sown to provide a new generation of trees absorbing CO2 ready to provide the wood for human needs in decades to come. So each time wood is seen in a house or a park bench or a telegraph pole, the viewer is actually seeing a carbon sink. The same for wooden cupboards and desks or furniture. Timber Is the Best Choice The alternative to using the naturally occurring gift of wood is to use materials that are non-renewable and have left a legacy of CO2 emissions in their wake, such as steel, aluminium, concrete, and plastic. Being non-renewable and heavily dependent on petrochemicals and energy in their production, any objective analysis would favour wood as an alternate building or construction material. The waste product from wood can be used as garden mulch or as biomass to generate electricity. Ultimately, it is biodegradable, unlike the substitutes for wood. As the CO2 is emitted, the new trees sown in their stead will busily absorb the emitted CO2. To appreciate this wonder of nature only requires a basic understanding of nature and science. Instead, we have an environmental zealotry being accommodated by the state government in Victoria which claims the constant legal action against native forestry waged by extreme green groups has made the operation of native forest harvesting too expensive. The fact these groups are largely funded by the government and the laws on which they rely to run their destructive lawfare has been legislated by the government is seemingly ignored. Cutting the funding and changing the law would allow the regional and country communities to maintain their livelihoods while producing an environmentally friendly product second to none. The Victorian government’s demolition of the native forest sector will see even fewer saw logs available for the building sector. A welder works on the roof of a new house construction in the North-West of Western Australia, on June 17, 2008. (Greg Wood/AFP via Getty Images) What is worse, extreme environmental groups also rally against monocultures or tree plantations, the last place from which timber can be harvested. Plantations or monocultures are biodiversity waste lands whereas native forests regain their biodiversity within a few months after resowing. What is really perverse about this counterproductive and unnecessary action by the government (other than to appease inner city greens) is that native forestry has helped preserve our bush lands. When Australia had forest workers all over the landscape, they doubled as fire fighters helping to spot fires and extinguish them with a rapidity that is being lost as production forests are closed down. The devastation caused by wildfires in former production forests has seen koalas and wildlife vaporised as the safe havens of harvested forests areas are lost and the intensity of the fires increases before any personnel can attend. It was in the workers’ interests to preserve the forests from wildfire as their destruction meant the destruction of their livelihood. The native forest sector provides jobs and livelihoods for our struggling regional communities while providing royalties for state governments and an environmentally friendly and much needed product to help address the housing shortage. But this is all being sacrificed to appease extreme inner city greens. Rather than being closed, the

When Environmental Radicalism Is More Harmful Than Good

Commentary

When mindless environmental zealotry turns into environmental vandalism and economic destruction something is badly wrong.

What turns the wrong into an inexcusable outrage is when the government allows it to occur, ignoring the common good which is at stake.

This is exactly the state of play in the state of Victoria where the debt-ridden government has been able to find $200 million (US$130 million) to close the environmentally friendly native forest sector within the next seven months, with the devastation of rural communities and the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Using taxpayer funds, in a time of a debt crisis, to pay people to stop producing a much-needed environmentally friendly resource that alleviates a pressing housing shortage is irresponsibility writ large.

The native forestry sector provides wood for a host of purposes from home building to biomass.

Wood products are carbon stores. As trees grow, they remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it. As the tree dies, or its wood decays, the carbon is slowly released back into the atmosphere.

Epoch Times Photo
Logged trees in Mountain Ash forest, Victoria, Australia, on April 30, 2018. (AAP Image/The Australian National University)

Old-growth forests provide an equilibrium being in general terms CO2 neutral. The same amount of CO2 is absorbed by the newly growing trees as is emitted by the decaying and dying trees.

Native forests on the other hand are regrowth forests that have already been harvested. Being harvested before the dying process sets in, they are net absorbers of CO2 from the atmosphere.

As they are harvested a new crop is sown to provide a new generation of trees absorbing CO2 ready to provide the wood for human needs in decades to come.

So each time wood is seen in a house or a park bench or a telegraph pole, the viewer is actually seeing a carbon sink. The same for wooden cupboards and desks or furniture.

Timber Is the Best Choice

The alternative to using the naturally occurring gift of wood is to use materials that are non-renewable and have left a legacy of CO2 emissions in their wake, such as steel, aluminium, concrete, and plastic.

Being non-renewable and heavily dependent on petrochemicals and energy in their production, any objective analysis would favour wood as an alternate building or construction material.

The waste product from wood can be used as garden mulch or as biomass to generate electricity. Ultimately, it is biodegradable, unlike the substitutes for wood.

As the CO2 is emitted, the new trees sown in their stead will busily absorb the emitted CO2. To appreciate this wonder of nature only requires a basic understanding of nature and science.

Instead, we have an environmental zealotry being accommodated by the state government in Victoria which claims the constant legal action against native forestry waged by extreme green groups has made the operation of native forest harvesting too expensive.

The fact these groups are largely funded by the government and the laws on which they rely to run their destructive lawfare has been legislated by the government is seemingly ignored.

Cutting the funding and changing the law would allow the regional and country communities to maintain their livelihoods while producing an environmentally friendly product second to none.

The Victorian government’s demolition of the native forest sector will see even fewer saw logs available for the building sector.

Epoch Times Photo
A welder works on the roof of a new house construction in the North-West of Western Australia, on June 17, 2008. (Greg Wood/AFP via Getty Images)

What is worse, extreme environmental groups also rally against monocultures or tree plantations, the last place from which timber can be harvested. Plantations or monocultures are biodiversity waste lands whereas native forests regain their biodiversity within a few months after resowing.

What is really perverse about this counterproductive and unnecessary action by the government (other than to appease inner city greens) is that native forestry has helped preserve our bush lands.

When Australia had forest workers all over the landscape, they doubled as fire fighters helping to spot fires and extinguish them with a rapidity that is being lost as production forests are closed down.

The devastation caused by wildfires in former production forests has seen koalas and wildlife vaporised as the safe havens of harvested forests areas are lost and the intensity of the fires increases before any personnel can attend.

It was in the workers’ interests to preserve the forests from wildfire as their destruction meant the destruction of their livelihood.

The native forest sector provides jobs and livelihoods for our struggling regional communities while providing royalties for state governments and an environmentally friendly and much needed product to help address the housing shortage. But this is all being sacrificed to appease extreme inner city greens.

Rather than being closed, the native forest sector should be celebrated. Unthinking zealotry trumping the common good.