Saturday, May 27, 2006

Food for thought - Canada's Boreal forest

Just finished reading a thought-provoking and well-written article on Canada's boreal forest by Jeff Hull, "The Final Frontier", in the September/October 2005 issue of Audubon magazine (which just shows you how far behind in my reading I am...).

Did you know that there is more intact forest in Canada's boreal than there is in the Brazilian Amazon? The boreal is apparently named after the Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, and the boreal forest is the largest intact terrestrial ecosystem in the world, with Canada's portion alone representing 25 per cent of the world's remaining frontier forests! I'm an environmentalist, and even I didn't know that! Holy moly!

Anyhoo, here's a really well-written passage (well the whole thing is really) that struck me:

"Nobody imagines taht another mailing of apparel catalogeues or a few family packs of paper towels will be the undoing of the great northern forest. But then, nobody thought that another hydroelectric dam could stifle the great salmon runs of America's Northwest, either, or that one more set of nets would empty the Grand Banks of cod, or that killing a few more buffalo could wipe out the endless herds that roamed the Great Plains. The real Tragedy of the Commons is that everybody knows it's true--only nobody believes it will happen to them."

Yep...See what I mean? When faced with a thought like that, where, oh where, do shoes fit into this???

Here are some things the article proposes to help presereve the boreal (and if you get a chance, check out the Fall 2005 issue of ON Nature: there's a story in there by Katharine Balpataky about tree-free paper, with sidebars and factoids that I researched about paper and tree consumption...):

  • cancel your catalogues subscriptions and shop online instead (I have to do this for at least two publications I get but never read);
  • buy recycled tissue and printing paper (did you know that if each household in Canada replaced just one roll of toilet paper made from new paper with a roll of toiled paper made from recycled paper, we would save more than 47,000 trees, 3,204 cubic metres of landfill space, and 65.5 litres of water and prevent the creation of 4,567 kilograms of air and water pollution resulting from manufacturing. Amazingly simple, yet so hard!).



Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Great post Christine! We use recycled toilet paper in my house! Perhaps I could borrow the article about tree free paper. I buy a lot more books thant borrow from the library but I would absolutely buy the books printed on tree-free paper or ancient forest-free paper if I could more easily identify them!

Ceebie said...

Thanks Heather! I can certainly give you a copy of the article (it should also be available in the library). If you want to know more about ancient forest-free paper, look for the Forest Stewardship Certification logo. Or, go to the Paper Project or Markets Initiative sites.