Forests & Climate Change:
The Coast Range Association
Strategy for Oregon

Forests & Climate: An Overview

A 30 minute podcast interview on Coast Range Radio with Chuck Willer on Financial Forestry, Climate Change, and the Green New Deal.

The Climate Emergency

The world is in a climate emergency. Climate scientists warn that we have less than ten years to limit carbon emissions before we reach the 1.5C tipping point. At the same time long festering social problems which accompanied the coronavirus pandemic have revealed deep structural economic issues. That is why a climate mobilization must be fair, equitable and just.

Our research over the past four years has revealed the scale of control Wall Street investors have over Oregon’s forestlands. Financially managed forests across Western Oregon exist as plantations of small trees that sequester relatively little carbon compared to the mighty forests they replaced. Wall Street-owned forests are carbon deserts that grow money for investors and leave little of value locally. The intensive management required to grow and harvest plantation wood, along with carbon-emitting end use wood product manufacturing, results in the timber industry being Oregon’s number one carbon polluter.

But with new ownership and forest management, Oregon industrial forests can become the state’s main carbon sequestering strategy. We can no longer afford to allow our forests and communities to serve Wall Street profits. As our state joins a national mobilization to address the climate emergency and the need for a just transition to a carbon free world, people and forests must now come first.

The Coast Range Association’s Climate Strategy

People Centered

The science is settled. We are in a human caused climate crisis. The CRA’s work is focused on a people centered process to achieve a zero carbon economy and contribute to an atmospheric carbon reduction. We are long past the time for shop worn market solutions that allow for business as usual.

Systems Focused

We understand that individual behavior and social systems coevolve. Calls for people to adopt new diets, modes of transportation or livelihoods are only realistic if the underlying systems are in place that offer real choices. Because we have less than 10 years to avert the worst impacts of climate change, we must rapidly create new climate friendly systems in housing, transportation, farming and manufacturing.

Part of a Global Movement

The Coast Range Association works in solidarity with global and national movements to demand action on climate and social justice. We recognize the leadership provided by Black Lives Matter, the Sunrise Movement, the 350 organization, Fridays for Future, and the Extinction Rebellion. It is essential to see the intersection of social, economic, racial, and gender struggles.

The long held recognition that social oppression and exploitation is intimately linked to the colonization of nature has set us apart from other Northwest conservation organizations.

A Global & National Solution

Detailed blueprints for a carbon free world exist across the planet. The required solar, wind and materials technology exists. All that is required is a national plan based on federal, state and local implementation that puts people’s welfare and economic security front and center. Fortunately, that plan exists in House Resolution-109, the Green New Deal. In fact, there is only one plan–the Green New Deal mobilization. Alternatives to the GND are simply fifty shades of grey that scale more or less towards protecting Wall Street, the billionaire and millionaire class, and entrenched fossil fuel corporations.

To read the goals of the GND go here. Read the full HR-109 here.

Resources:

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An Oregon Green New Deal

An Oregon GND is a set of solutions that will provide for improved housing, modern carbon free transportation, regenerative agriculture and community benefit forestry. The GND recognizes frontline communities and people who currently bear the costs and impacts of fossil fuel systems and the historic injustices built into the Wall Street-billionaire social order. Together we can describe new carbon free systems at the community, county, and landscape scale.

The Pacific Northwest has a unique climate contribution to make. Our region’s coastal and cascade forests were once one of the great carbon storehouses for the planet. In fact, Pacific Northwest forests, especially our coastal rainforests, are arguably the best in the world per acre at storing carbon. An Oregon GND must speak directly to the protection of all remaining carbon dense native forests on public lands, while offering a plan to transition Wall Street owned forest to high carbon, people purposed private forests.

An old business adage reminds customers that they only get to pick two of the three values a business might offer: high quality, fast service and low price. The same holds for our working industrial forests. We can only pick two of the following: income for communities, serious carbon sequestration, and profits for wealthy Wall Street investors. We know which two must be chosen.

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Challenging Wall Street Forestry

A Better World is Possible

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