cross-posted from the Forest Climate Alliance
For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2023
Press Contact- Alex Budd, firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 901-4198
Hundreds Rally in Opposition to Wall St. Forestry and False Climate Solutions Outside of Timber Conference
Activists continue days of disruptions with mass protest outside of “Who Will Own the Forest?” conference
Portland, OR – This afternoon, dozens of organizations came together from across the region to organize a mass protest of the “Who Will Own the Forest” conference, with hundreds in attendance. Speakers at the rally called out forest carbon offsets, which were being promoted at the conference, as false solutions, highlighted the environmental impacts of industrial logging, and aimed criticism at the broader framing of the conference as an affront to Indigenous sovereignty.
“When we think of who will “own” the forest, we must remember the people who have always had the longest relationship with the forest, those who have maintained a reciprocal relationship with forests since time immemorial. These are the same people whose livelihoods and well-being are intertwined with forests’ health,” said Thomas Joseph, Carbon Pricing Educator with Indigenous Environmental Network. “This concept of ownership is rooted in the foundation of this country- conquest and domination- which has enabled extractive culture and the commodification of the sacred.”
Earlier this morning, a dozen activists joined arms and blocked the entrance to the conference, in the second disruption of the conference in two days. Protestors harangued conference goers with chants of “shame” and “clean water, clean air, not another billionaire.” This action came immediately on the heels of a similar disruption yesterday evening, where dozens of activists blocked the entrance to the opening reception of the conference.
On Thursday, September 28 communities and activists will host the Forests Over Profits conference. In contrast to the corporate “Who Will Own the Forest?” conference, Forests Over Profits will elevate truly sustainable forest management and the need for fundamental systems change in the face of capitalist exploitation and the climate and biodiversity crises.
Brenna Bell, Forest Climate Manager at 350PDX, said:
“We are in a climate emergency, and the intact forests are one of the Pacific NW’s best allies to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. But at the Who Will Own the Forest Conference, big polluters and investors will discuss how best to exploit ecosystems, and the communities that depend on them, to keep their profits rolling in.”
Studies have shown that Pacific Northwest forests are some of the best in the world at drawing down and storing carbon, and could play a critical role in mitigating the climate crisis and building climate resilience, but only if they are protected from logging. Despite the growing body of science that shows that these climate-forests are critical to protecting a stable climate, Wall Street logging corporations and profiteers are continuing to clearcut public and private land forests rapidly with no concern for the environmental impact.
“This is Indigenous land. It is despicable that these out-of-touch timber barons and Wall Street investors gather annually to scheme about the continued destruction of these ecosystems and the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous people of their ancestral lands,” said Riley Fields, an Indigenous organizer with W.R.E.N.C.H., a regional forest defense collective. “Forests will never be private property.”
Thomas Joseph, Carbon Pricing Educator with Indigenous Environmental Network, said:
“If we are truly seeking a sustainable forest, we collectively must prioritize land back to Indigenous Peoples, whom we know are proven to be successful in curating a healthy sustainable forest instead of in the hands corporate elites that continue to financially benefit off the desecration of our forests by creating carbon sinks through market mechanisms which allow business as usual for extractive economies to continue.”
Find free-to-use photos of the action in this folder, which will be updated as the conference goes on. Please attribute the photos to W.R.E.N.C.H.