Between The Forest and Greed

Within the past decade there has been a rising "environmentally conscious"
movement. The spectrum of issues in contention by environmentalism has expanded
virulently and is reaching its zenith. Public dissatisfaction with the
environmental movement is forming, as the movement has taken the fight for the
environment too far. Donella Meadows is an environmentalist who has yet to
fully think about the issue she is arguing. In her piece "Not Seeing the Forest
for the Dollar Bills," she takes an almost infantile approach to the logging
industry and the concept of clear cutting. The monetary motivations behind the
logging industry is her explanation for clear cutting, trying to portray the
logging industry as a cold money making machine. This of course neglects the
fact that the reason logging generates capital is because the world needs wood.
There are several economic and environmental issues that are considered when
loggers enter and area. Haphazard clear cutting of forests, while it maybe what
Meadows would like us to think, does not happen. With every industry, every
aspect is carefully debated and analyzed for the short and long term outcomes.

Any industry that capitalizes on earth's resources figuratively signs a
pact with the earth. This pact bonds this industry to the earth and requires
that any harvesting of resources is not done so with haste and waste. There is
a symbiotic relationship between the two. For the industry to exist there must
be a constant supply of the resource. Without a constant supply the industry
dies. Now, many people believe that the logging industry's objective is to cut
down all the trees that are currently standing. As horrific as this scenario
may sound, it is far from the truth. Without trees to cut down there is no
industry. The logging industry is not so foolish as to rampage the forests and
cut down all the trees. As they cut, they plant. Replacing forests with
samplings may look inadequate, but over a long period of time these samplings
will become a new forest. The earth as we know it today has been in existence
for millions of years. Even if newly planted tress take a century to grow back
that is only a pinpoint on the time line. The millions of acres of forested
land left untouched currently will not be engulfed by blades and tractors
instantly. It will take time to cut down the trees, as it will take time to
grow them back.

Meadows seems to have a misconception of industries and the service they
provide. All industries, whether it be recycling to logging, are trying to
maximize their profits. If this means moving their plants off shore, so be it.
These industries provide the world with services that we need to operate as an
advanced civilization. She claims that the remaining old growth forests are on
protected federal land. If this is the case she has little to complain about.
The remaining portion of what she is trying to protect is protected. At the
same time she is also claiming that old growth forest can not be recreated.
This seems far fetched from the eyes of an historian. Referring back to the
history of the earth, one can assume that before humans inhabited the land that
forests burnt to the ground leaving nothing but charred remains. Yet forests
still exist today. Now, when they are threatened by fire, we save them instead
of allowing nature to take its course. Meadows gives the reader a choice
between "the forest and greed". If her choices were accurate one would probably
choose the forest. The problem lies in her choices. They are given to the
reader from only one perspective... hers. When an argument is based upon a one
sided view it loses strength. It only leads to flaws and the eventual dismissal
of the argument. In any debate one should look at the topic from the opposing
side before approaching it from one's own.

In every country, forests are considered a valuable resource. They
provide us with wood to build homes and paper to communicate. With a constantly
growing population, the need for homes becomes greater and thus the supply of
wood must also increase. The real choice that should be analyzed is "the forest
or your home". Many alternate forms of building materials are phased into the
system as need be, but the need for wood will always exist. Knowing that the
world will continue to cut down trees, the only solution to the forest depletion,
is reforestation. A forest ecologically engineered with the