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Missing the forest for the trees

Every cloud has a silver lining, right? Well, not in Copenhagen.

As COP15 talks got underway last week, many people thought that a deal on curbing deforestation in developing countries might offer one positive outcome to what looked likely to be an otherwise disappointing climate conference. Now, though, at a time when negotiations for a comprehensive climate treaty have hit a brick wall, talks concerning deforestation appear to be grinding to a halt as well. Can anything be resolved at COP15?

The Nation
Monday, December 14, 2009

Peat and Repeat: Can Major Carbon Sinks Be Restored by Rewetting the World's Drained Bogs?

The logging of palm trees grown atop the decaying peatlands of Borneo and Sumatra helps drive the economy of Indonesia, and this fact alone is starting to make the nation a top global priority for efforts to mitigate the warming climate. The problem is three-pronged: First, cheap pulp and paper produced in Indonesia winds up in the glossy coated products we know as junk mail, luxury shopping bags or children's books. Then, once the original trees are gone, palm oil plantations are often planted in their place.

Scientific American
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NH Company Pledges Greener Luxury Paper Bags

Here is something you probably didn’t know: Some of those luxury shopping bags your purchases are placed in at stores like Versace, Prada and J. Crew may have contributed to tropical rainforest deforestation.

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Boston Globe
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tree Harvester Offers to Save Indonesian Forest

TELUK MERANTI, Indonesia — From the air, the Kampar Peninsula in Indonesia stretches for mile after mile in dense scrub and trees. One of the world’s largest peat swamp forests, it is also one of its biggest vaults of carbon dioxide, a source of potentially lucrative currency as world governments struggle to hammer out a global climate treaty. The vault, though, is leaking.

New York Times
Monday, November 30, 2009

Gucci joins other fashion players in committing to protect rainforests

The Rainforest Action Network announced on November 3 that the Gucci Group--which includes fashion houses Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga--has joined a growing list of major companies who are pledging to change their paper policies.

Since the beginning of fall 2009, the Rainforest Action Network has been encouraging fashion industry players to examine their paper supply chains, avoiding suppliers who use resources from endangered rainforests, specifically those in Indonesia.

The Independent (UK)
Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sizing up palm oil

Palm oil is in everything from fuel to cosmetics. Is it a solution or a problem?

It’s lurking, unlabeled, in hundreds of household products from lip gloss to baby formula to potato chips. While it doesn’t sound (and need not be) nefarious, activist groups worldwide argue that the production of palm oil is currently harming rain forests in Southeast Asia, orangutans, and the environment.

But the American Palm Oil Council calls it “nature’s gift to the world.”

So, which is it?

Christian Science Monitor
Monday, November 2, 2009

A Green Victory in the Bag?

Environmental activism against the fashion-bag industry begins to have an impact.

The Big Money
Monday, October 5, 2009

Fashion for glossy, paper shopping bags is ‘destroying rainforest’

They are the must-have accessory for fashion-conscious shoppers who want to be seen carrying home the most exclusive and expensive brands.

But there is a dirty secret behind the glossy paper bags often spotted dangling from the arms of socialites.

Several of Britain’s top fashion brands and makers of luxury goods have been buying these bags from a supplier majority-owned by a company responsible for destroying millions of acres of Indonesian rainforest.

Times Online (UK)
Saturday, September 19, 2009

General Mills Linked to Rainforest Destruction

Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Minneapolis ¬– Local food giant General Mills (GIS) came under fire today for its use of unsustainable palm oil, a food commodity strongly linked to rainforest destruction in Southeast Asia, as 42 activists with Rainforest Action Network, Walker Church and other concerned community organizations unfurled a 30 x 70 ft. banner reading “Warning: General Mills Destroys Rainforests” outside of the company’s Minneapolis headquarters building.

Impending Collapse of Climate Talks Fails World's Forests and People

Release Date: 
Friday, December 18, 2009

Copenhagen – The impending collapse of climate change talks here has dashed hopes that the Copenhagen process could provide real solutions to protect the world’s forests and reduce the approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.