Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fairy Tales of the Peninsula

You've all heard about the usual sylan legends. Bigfoot. The guv'ment is poisoning the forests (with the addition that we need to cut them down to Save The Wildlife).

Here's a couple more:

1. Clearcuts are good for wildlife. 
Poke these people a bit, and you find out it's good for deer and grouse - deer and grouse - deer and grouse. They quickly prove they want flat grass, with stags and game birds on it, and nothing else. It's like English Lord wannabe.

2. Environmentalists want to live in big houses in virgin forest and travel by helicopter
You wonder what they're on when they make this stuff up (not that there's not plenty of choice; Forks is the meth capitol of western Washington). Want to see how an environmentalist lives? Come visit me. You'll see me using less, trying to make it last, trying to repair it. It's not easy to live in a society that, top-to-bottom, is based on resource rip-and-crash, but using less is a big first step.

Yes, we use firewood - but the other option is electricity, and the cluttered, overstretched grid, that will need to be replaced with steadily-improving in-city small-grid systems. And whomever I buy it from talks how to get Greener (not greener wood, smart-ass), in a system that makes it hard for them. Yes, we're on grids ourselves, but we try to use as little as possible and recycle what we use. We don't go to Walmart or Costco, we try to support the local businesses, what few there actually are. We try to consolidate auto trips, use public transit, and lower the yard-care impact. As far as helicopters go - we could use one or two up here, for a community taxi service. 

3. We can log forever if we just burn slag and replant trees.
I only have to use their own argument against them - that a forest is like a crop of corn: how long would you be able to keep harvesting crops of corn with no fertilizer except burning the stalks? The Mayan calendar was probably a schedule for moving a community once the corn had sucked the ground dry. Want to see someplace that kept harvesting and harvesting? The middle east. Really nice forest recovery there, isn't it?

3. Taking down the National Forest would rescue the rural economy.
I'm not even going to get into how these pulp-paper-and-cheap-building woods people have cut off their own future. I've already gone into toxic products, antique production and use methods, and ultimate soil exhaustion. But we should stop here and take a look at a truly evil bit of legislation that is being used right now to tear the heart out of the State Trust lands, and cheat landowners of their trees: H.R. 1526: Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act Look who voted for it. Any surprise? If only from an economic standpoint, the use of trees for pulp is the dumbest thing that can be done with wood. There are a million other sources of fast-growing waste products that can be used for pulp, or re-worked to replace the toxic pulp products - and everything made from tree pulp has residual toxins.

Fine wood prices in Seattle.
Here's something any landowner with trees should know: real wood, used AS wood, treated with respect, attracts a lot more money than ripped-out stands of pulp trees. Take a look at this sign on a Seattle street tree. The tree is valued at $8000 - and the fine for taking it out during construction is $16,000. Why? Because trees aren't corn, and shouldn't be sold like corn. The fact we've been treating them like corn has led to wood products that, well, in the words of Dan when we were trying to find some decent wood for a house project, "My grandfather wouldn't have used this for firewood."

Local people and landowners have been scammed out of billions of dollars since logging and pulping began up here. Wood has been bought on the cheap, chopped up like cheap corn, and sold for whatever the industries - often based in distant states - could get away with. What do companies based in Florida care about the Olympic Peninsula, or anybody who lives here?

That doesn't have to be. True planning, care, patience. And yes, people will need help in rural communities until the scarred land and forests - and yes, the fish - recover. And help getting into new, clean industries, like the tourism - ecology and entertainment, just for a start.

Subsidize the people of the rural towns until the forests heal - not the companies that will ultimately turn the whole peninsula into just another bunch of failed logging towns.

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