Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Trees Are the Lungs of This Earth

Something to think about.

The Bush administration doesn't seem to care for trees, unless they can be felled and made into large desks for Republican managers. To encourage this,

The Bush administration on Tuesday eased restrictions on logging old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, completing a rules change that will allow forest managers to begin logging without first looking for rare plants and animals.

Why this change? Ostensibly it's because of a timber industry law suit. The industry doesn't like the hassle of having to look for rare plants and animals: it takes time and money. Much easier just to rev up the chain saws after relying on information provided by Washington, Oregon and California. And where does this information come from? Can you imagine hordes of civil servants toothcombing the wilderness so that all the available information on rare species will be ready for the eager loggers to scan? I smell a rat here, and it isn't one of the rare types either.

This 'easing of restrictions' on logging is part of the Bush administration's 'Healthy Forests' initiative. I wonder what their definition of 'healthy' might be? Not contaminated with all sorts of critters and weeds? With lots of open spots, conveniently provided by the timber industry?

Some logging of federal forests is needed for forest fire prevention. But the rules of the game shouldn't be decided by one party alone (the timber industry), especially as that party has an obvious incentive to cut as many good trees as possible. Still, all this is totally on par for this administration: it sees pre-emptive wars everywhere, and it probably is true that the forests won't attack us if we kill them first. Or who knows, maybe the Ents are real and not just something Tolkien made up. Maybe they'll wake up and start their slow, slow march to Washington, D.C.. If so, I'll go and cheer them all the way.