Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Southeastern Swamplands & Paper Packaging

Today, our friends at the Dogwood Alliance released a report, "Southeastern Swamplands & Paper Packaging," that details the world class biological hot spot of the Southeastern coastal forests and wetlands and the growing threat to this region by International Paper and their largest corporate customers. The main product produced by IP in this region is paper packaging and one of the largest customers is the fast food industry including Yum! Brand Foods (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and more), McDonald's and more.

In addition to the report, activists held press conferences in Norfolk, VA and Wilmington, NC and presented petitions signed by thousands of citizens calling for protection of the region’s forests.

A quote from the press conference in Wilmington, NC:

“We are here today to shine a bright spotlight on the incredibly diverse forests of the Southeastern swampland and call on International Paper and their big customers to stop the needless destruction of our forests,” said Ruth Morrison, Campaign Organizer for Dogwood Alliance in Wilmington, NC. “The forests of coastal Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia like the Green Swamp in North Carolina and the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia should not be chopped down, chipped up, and turned into paper packaging for fast food companies like KFC, Taco Bell and McDonalds.”

The Southern Swampland region stretching from the Southeast Virginia coast across the Carolinas to the Georgia coast is an area of amazing natural beauty and unique biological diversity. It is home to unheralded aquatic and plant diversity including such species as the Venus flytrap and longleaf pine trees. Examples of wild natural places in the region that signify what the forests of the region could and should look like include the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and North Carolina and the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina.

To view the press release from today's event, visit here.

To view and download the full report, visit here.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

When people think of saving trees and forests, many discount their own locations and daily individual effects. As it’s a lot easier to ignore clear-cutting as a practice that occurs in exotic rainforests, it’s also quite easy not to take action. However, it’s rather difficult to escape the visual impact of such practices and their devastation in areas seen on a daily basis.

As I drive around these areas in my home state of North Carolina and I watch them reduced to environmental war zones, it causes me to cringe. These unsustainable production practices obviously don’t make sense even before reading any of the facts and figures. How could a leveled, barren forest seem healthy or attractive to anyone? No one looks at construction sites and admires the beauty of overturned dirt and half finished structures. The same goes for forests. Reducing natural resources to a constant fa├žade of construction and progress must end.

Thank you to the work of the Dogwood Alliance and their recently released report that offers the hard facts of issues taking place in our own backyard, balancing the emotional and physical reaction to such depredation. Pointing out the diverse species and their unique impact on these local ecosystems offers tangible evidence to the occurring atrocities.

The loss of trees and forests results in what? Flashy packaging-turned litter that is noticed by the consumer for amount of time it takes to open the package and dispose of it. This has the shortest shelf life of any product and the biggest waste.

Releasing reports such as these, along with initiatives of local activist campaign efforts, raises awareness of paper packaging and helps to create a solution to the packaging problem.