I’m taking this as a good sign, that "environmentalism"is finally mainstream enough for people within its vast umbrella to publicly disagree. So we nature-lovers now have to look at people’s facts, not the green flags they’re waving, to determine who’s right and who’s wrong. Or both, or neither.
In this op-ed in the Vancouver Sun, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore takes issue with the anti-forestry message in the new climate change movie "11th Hour," which is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. Moore calls it "another example of anti-forestry scare tactics" and reminds us that old-growth forests sequester substantially less carbon than stands of young, growing trees. He writes that the movie should have encouraged the growth of more trees and the use of more wood, which would mean less use of concrete, steel and plastic, all heavy carbon-emitters in their production.
Now I’ve heard from my urban forestry friends that they fight this battle all the time. People want to hang onto their large but old and sickly trees, while arborists want them replaced. "Gotta keep the urban canopy young!" is the rallying cry of one arborist who recently retired from the fray. Committed treehuggers make formidable opponents, he told me. I learned as much myself when, at his urging, I supported the relaxation of my town’s tree laws, which were protecting not just sick and dangerous trees but junk specimens like Bradford pears and mulberries. For speaking out I was subjected to an angry, harsh email campaign and intimidating glares while I was testifying (with shaking knees) before the City Council. Yikes!
On the other hand, I agree with Ecorazzi’s assertion in this story that Moore went too far when he wrote that 11th Hour is a "clear reminder for us to put the science before the Hollywood hype," which sounds like the Hollywood-bating we usually hear from Fox News. So Leo, George, Barbra, Bono – keep it up, and thanks for having a brain and not being afraid to put it to good purpose.
But oh, by the way, I saw the movie and can’t really recommend it. Unless you’re totally out of it and need to be SHOCKED with horrible images and really, really bad news, why put yourself through it? I saw it with Kathy Jentz so Kathy, what say you?
If you’re a global-warming denier, though, by all means go see it.Posted by Susan Harris on September 4, 2007 at 12:04 pm, in the category Ministry of Controversy.