Why We’re Striking for Climate

Today is the Global Climate Strike, and millions around the world will walk out of their schools, workplaces, and homes to rally together and demand climate justice for all. Dogwood Alliance has shut our office for the day, and our team members will be joining climate strikers in Asheville, Raleigh, Savannah, and Seattle.

We’re striking for climate because forest destruction is a climate emergency.

So many of us have heard Greta Thunberg — the leader who has sparked a global climate movement led by young people — say that our house is on fire, and we need to act like it. Part of the reason for that is that our forests are going up in smoke. And I’m not just talking about the horrific, climate-caused forest fires of the West or even the outrageous destruction happening in the Amazon right now. I’m talking about the clearcutting and burning of our forests right here in our backyard in the US South.

Photo of Clear Cut

We’re striking for climate to demand truly clean energy — not false solutions like biomass.

Every single year, tens of thousands of acres of forests and wetlands are cut down, turned into wood pellets, and shipped overseas to be burned for electricity in power stations in Europe and Asia. It’s called biomass power. It’s dirtier than burning coal, but it gets millions and millions of dollars in subsidies for being a “green and renewable” energy source — just another deceptive claim from big industry that’s taking us backward and not forward on climate.

Failed policies in Europe started the global biomass swindle, but it’s our Southern communities and forests paying the price for the deception and the destruction led by the world’s largest wood pellet producer, Enviva. Each of Enviva’s facilities require dozens of acres of forests to be cut down every day. Right now they have eight facilities throughout the South with more in the works.

We’re striking for climate in solidarity with the communities on the frontlines of forest destruction.

The communities living near Enviva’s facilities suffer the 24/7 noise, dust, harmful air pollution, truck traffic, and forest degradation of the wood pellet industry. These communities are on the frontlines of climate injustice. They’re often the same communities living along the route of proposed and unnecessary pipelines, of polluting hog factories, and of coal ash contamination.

They’re located in places bearing the impacts of extreme weather first and worst, where intact forests and wetlands are more important than ever to protect us from storms like Hurricane Florence, Dorian, Matthew, Michael, Irma, Harvey — and the growing list of household names that have wrought devastation to communities across our region.

We’re striking to expose the truth about what logging means for our climate.

The best science is telling us that to avoid a climate catastrophe, we need to dramatically scale up forest protection at the same time as we transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. On top of that, an emerging body of research shows that logging is a major climate problem that’s flying under the radar. Our latest report shows that logging in North Carolina is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, just behind electricity and transportation. That might not come as a surprise if you knew that our forests here in the US South were disturbed at a rate four times higher than South American rainforests. But if you didn’t know that, it’s because the best kept secret of the forest products industry is their dirty climate impact.

Infographic that shows the climate impact of industrial logging in NC. Reads: North Carolina is Clearcutting a Critical Climate Solution. 500,000 truckloads of timber are removed from North Carolina forests every year. Logging in North Carolian releases 44 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. That's equivalent to the annual climate impact of over 9 million cars on the road, making industrial logging the state's third most carbon intensive sector, just after electricity and transportation.

We’re striking for climate because business as usual will bring catastrophic results.

The industry and many of our so-called leaders want to keep business as usual. They want to keep logging, extracting, burning our forests, and slapping a green label on it. They want to keep putting profit above people and land no matter what it costs the rest of us. But you and I all know that business as usual has brought us to the crisis that we’re in right now — and we’re not going to stand for it anymore.

We’re striking because we believe in a better future.

We’re fighting for a world where everyone has clean air and water, where nobody has to choose between a job and their health or their quality of life, and where we have beautiful, standing, diverse forests now and for generations to come. Join us in the movement for forest protection, climate action, and environmental justice.

We’re striking for climate today. Join us. Find a Climate Strike near you.

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