Friday, 9 July 2010

Who cares about forests? Message from Avaaz

I've just signed a petition urging EU to pass bold new laws to curb illegal timber trading.

Illegal-logging destroys forests and communities all over the world. As a major timber importer, new EU regulations could help undercut this black market and protect forests worldwide, unless powerful companies succeed in watering down the agreement. Let's push back with a roar of strong support for forests -- click to take action:

Read more about this important issue below.

Within days, the European Parliament could ban illegal timber from entering the EU market -- but powerful companies stand in the way.

Forests are the habitat and life source of many peoples and are essential in preventing climate change, but while there is high demand for timber, illegal logging thrives, killing species, and fuelling corruption and organized crime.

The European Council has just voted for harsh penalties and criminal sanctions for importers of timber harvested illegally in other countries. But now the Parliament has its say, and some MEPs from member states with large timber industries, are threatening to water down the crucial controls.

Let’s build a massive citizens’ outcry to get the European Parliament to end illegal timber imports and save our forests. The petition will be delivered to MEPS as they go into vote on the legislation on July 7th. We only have a few days! Sign the petition below and send it on to everyone:

20-40% of the global timber market is estimated to be illegal. That’s roughly 10-15 Billion Euros a year which is stolen and funnelled to criminal syndicates. The US has already approved strong laws against illegal timber -- but the EU is one of the world’s leading timber importers and as long as it does not ban the trade, it is directly responsible for around a 3 billion Euros share in this black market.

The social and environmental impacts of this industry are truly devastating and it is inciting money laundering, corruption and violence. Mismanaged deforestation drives global climate change and robs both indigenous peoples and animals, who rely on the forests, of crucial natural resources.

Last year the timber companies beat the ban, working with timber import countries to delay European legislation. But this year the Parliament has the chance to approve even stronger laws and some sectors of the timber industry as well as the Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Belgium and Spain have come out in favour of an outright ban.

Let’s not let the companies which fuel misery and destruction win again. Together, we can tackle illegal logging and protect our forests and their peoples. Sign the petition -- then spread the word:
With hope,
The Avaaz team

See WWF’s report on Illegal logging and the EU -- click on the link to download the PDF version:

More on the Parliament vote: