Protection of our forests from genetic engineering and use as biofuels

“I want to do the right things - I want to plant trees, I want to make sure that the indigenous forests are protected because I know, whatever happens, these are the forests that contain biodiversity, these are the forests that help us retain water when it rains and keep our rivers flowing, these are the forests that many future generations will need.” Wangari Maathai

Photo credit: Lisa Merton

Deforestation is a major contributing factor to climate chaos, biodiversity loss, soil damage, water pollution, and the destabilization of forest dependent communities. Yet U.S. and global energy and climate policy and practice increase the demand for industrial biofuels and wood, placing forests under threat and pressure. We cannot increase the demand for wood and believe that we will reduce deforestation. We cannot replace forests with genetically engineered (GE) trees and and protect genetic diversity of forests. We cannot replace biodiverse forests with monoculture tree plantations, reliant on pesticides and fertilizers, and imagine that we are protecting soil and water quality, providing essential habitat for biodiversity, or healthy livelihoods for people. Simply put, we must choose. GE trees and tree plantations are no substitute for the myriad complex functions of a forest. A true forest is a wonderful, magnificent wild of the known and unknown and cannot be replaced. Ceres Trust provides support to organizations and movements that protect forests for us all.

Photo credit: Dogwood Alliance
Photo credit: Dogwood Alliance

Resources

Genetically Engineered Trees: The New Frontier of Biotechnology is a report published by the Center for Food Safety. This groundbreaking report looks at the recent push for the commercialization of GE trees by biotech, energy, and paper companies and exposes the truth behind industry claims that these GE trees promote "environmental sustainability."

Great American Stand: U.S. Forests and the Climate Emergency is a report published by the Dogwood Alliance describing why the United States needs an aggressive forest protection agenda focused in its own back yard.

Resources on GE Trees, compiled by the Campaign to Stop GE Trees.

Save Our Roots is an indigenous people’s campaign to save our natural forests.

Trees, Trash and Toxics: How Biomass Energy has Become the New Coal, a report by the Partnership for Policy Integrity.

The Restoration of the American Chestnut (pdf): The American Chestnut faced devastation from a fungus (blight), introduced in 1904. After thirty years of traditional plant breeding, scientists have successfully developed a blight-resistant American Chestnut, with the first potentially blight-­resistant chestnuts harvested in 2005.

The BEAI Fund was born out of a shared recognition that in order for the environmental movement to be successful, it must support and resource grassroots groups to institutionalize community-based solutions to the ecological crisis. The BEAI will move $10 million towards advancing the climate and environmental justice movements.

Video

BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? is a feature-length documentary, which takes an unwavering look at the latest energy industry solution to climate change. The film tells the story of how woody biomass has become the fossil-fuel industry’s renewable, green savior, and of the people and parties who are both fighting against and promoting its adoption and use. A film by Alan Mater and Lisa Merton.

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai is an in-depth film about Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai.  Made during the last decade of her life, the film portrays how her act of planting trees, along with her commitment to education and the empowerment of women, grew into a nationwide movement for environmental and human rights. Directed and produced by Alan Mater and Lisa Merton.

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