Don Ogden: For forest protection, ‘business-as-usual’ needs to end

  • Hemingway Road in Wendell State Forest on Thursday, April 4, 2019. gazette file photo

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
For forest protection, ‘business-as-usual’ needs to end

Thanks to the Bulletin for printing Sen. Adam Hinds recent op-ed “Trees, transportation: building on recent climate action,” in which the senator pointed out that “We need to actively remove carbon from the air as well. The good news is we have a natural climate solution right here in our backyard: trees. Trees play one of the most significant roles in removing and storing carbon.”

Many of us here in the Valley have been advocating for the protection and preservation of trees for years now with just that in mind. In fact, many of us have signed petitions for H.897, an act relative to forest protection which, we are told, will not be reported out of committee.

Sadly, the bill which would have discontinued commercial logging on public lands, and treated those forests as we do our parks, was strongly opposed by the forestry community, some land trusts and presumably by our state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which have a stake in maintaining business-as-usual.

Of course, in the climate crisis, such business must change if we are to help our children and grandchildren have a livable future.

The senator went on to note: “Several amendments ... were combined to ensure we understand how much carbon we sequester in state forests and work to enhance storage.”

Part of that combination apparently includes a proposed commission that will study what needs to be done to address the issue of forests and climate, but who would sit on such a committee? My reading of the initial draft for the committee finds far too many of those advocates for business-as-usual and far too few climate scientists and stakeholders deeply concerned about the crisis we face.

Time is running out for us to respond to the climate emergency we are in. We can no longer afford to cling to the past. Future generations are dependent upon us to act now.

Don Ogden