Unplug — Discover The Forest
I’ve seen several billboards around town with this image. I also saw it in an ad here on Consumer Energy Report. They’re part of a joint venture between the Ad Council and the USDA Forest Service. Here is a list of organizations supporting it. Every advertising executive knows that half of their money is being wasted. They just don’t know which half it is. In this case, I hope none of it is being wasted.
Coincidentally, I took the picture of that painted turtle to the right while camping this summer (full-size image here).
Forest fires have been getting bigger and more numerous. I listened to an NPR piece about how this is being called “the new normal.” The main driver appears to be decades of fire suppression that has allowed combustible brush and small trees to accumulate instead of allowing natural fires to periodically clear them out. The resulting infernos burn the mature trees that are normally impervious to smaller fires. The reporter stood on a ridge and looked out over a burned forest that extended as far as he could see. It isn’t expected to recover for thousands of years (i.e. never).
My own forest property is a bomb waiting for ignition. I am typically very critical of energy schemes that plan to burn biota in our cars and power plants. After watching the forest adjacent to my forest property be logged for paper pulp, I might support efforts to replace natural fires with the harvesting of brush and small trees to co-fire with coal, reducing the amount of coal consumed.
Obviously, mechanically harvesting that material is difficult and expensive, or paper pulp mills would do it instead of harvesting live trees. I’d also support laws that forced paper pulp to be made from thinning operations, although it would increase the cost of paper, but maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing either. I use very little paper anymore, and have practically lost the ability to write with a pen!
Ironically, Seattle has recently outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags. If you forget to bring cloth ones you can pay extra for paper bags, made out of trees. We always recycled our plastic grocery bags as trash can liners. Our supply has run out. I just purchased a box of plastic trash can liners.
George Monbiot summed up my thoughts on this topic nicely. Read Plastic bag obsession is carrier for environmental ignorance.