Monday, March 7, 2011

Barking Mad

Kathy in the Woods

So it’s the start of National Tree Week everybody! Great, right? Well please forgive this particular leaf lover for not getting too over excited.  Sure I’m all for celebrating our wooded wonders and I give a big virtual pat on the back to those lovely folk over at the Tree Council of Ireland, they do good work. But I’m afraid I’m going to have to kick off their well intentioned week with a rant. 

You see I’m finding it very hard at the minute to muster up any national pride in the way our country cares for trees, especially since it’s recently been revealed that we’re planning on selling them all off! Well, maybe not all of them exactly, just our remaining forests.  Over a million acres to be precise. Kind of ironic when you consider the theme for this year’s week is ‘Celebrating Forests for People’.

Regular readers to this blog will have heard me lamenting our embattled trees before. Irish trees were arguably the biggest losers of the Celtic Tiger era and its head long rush towards development and ‘progress’, and I had hoped the recession might have provided them with some respite from the builders’ bulldozers. Unfortunately that appears to have been a rather naive notion.

Yup, Ireland’s forests are now up for sale along with everything else in the country, reduced to nothing more than a commodity to be monopolised by private investors.

In fairness, the plan isn’t necessarily to chop all the forests down. Well it is actually, but not in the way you might think. Apparently interest has been expressed in the prized lots by a Swiss finance company called Helvetia Wealth, who own the International Forestry Fund. Interestingly, the IFF is now chaired by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (those of you after a cynical chuckle should read the laudations for him on their website).  
Speaking of their website, after reading it one could be forgiven for being a tad optimistic about the future of our forests; lots of talk of sustainability and ethical and environmental consideration, pictures of bluebell carpeted woods, details of how entire local economies can flourish around the forests themselves… It all sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it?

You’ll have to pardon my scepticism, but I find it hard to be convinced that a multinational corporation driven solely by profit garnered from timbering has the best interests of our country’s natural heritage at heart.  My suspicion was further heightened by the ‘terms and conditions’ you have to agree to before even logging into their site, basically a disclaimer which warns that not everything on the website should be taken as set-in-stone fact. I think that one was aimed at the investors, but it still takes the shine out the silver lining I highlighted above.

You know it’s issues like this that have me itching all the more to get my journalism boots back on. So far the Irish media have paid little attention to the plight of our forests, but I suppose why would they if it wasn’t sent out pre-explained in a press release? Investigative reporting was already on its last legs but I think the recession has finally killed it off. Newsrooms are just so short staffed theses days that editors can’t afford to give their reporters the time needed to look into these things properly. Ah, but I digress…
Back to the trees! So I realise a lot of you fellow inhabitants of this soon-to-be-not-so-emerald isle will already be up to speed on all this thanks to the petition doing the rounds on Facebook. Those of you from further a field that are interested can find out more here at The Woodland League, where you’ll find a copy of the petition to our president. Feel free to sign it! The more countries that say no to this carry on, the harder it’ll be for leaders to get away with it elsewhere. And doubt for a second that similar shenanigans aren’t afoot in your own respective backyards!

The British public have already shown that it’s possible to get governments to change their minds on these matters, now it’s Irelands turn to take back the trees. We’re only a little country, and from what I can see our leaders rarely listen to anything we say, so we could do with all help we can get. I thought maybe I might be able to rally some international support from all you lovely blogger folk? Especially you American ones, our government has always done everything you Yanks have told it to ;) So sign up, pass it on, and help us save our forests! The Irish nation thanks you in advance.


Heathen said...

This is atrocious! You know, we learned very early on in physical science class that we need the freakin' trees to breathe! I don't understand why this simple, basic fact is always overlooked. And all in the name of "progress" and "industry". Personally I think if we had a bit less progress and industry the world and all it's inhabitants would be a much better place. When are we (the leaders I mean) going to realize that our so called advancements will be our demise?

I'm off to sign that petition!

TheBlakkDuchess said...

This Yank is signature # 19,561.

Only after the last tree has
been cut down. Only after the
last fish has been caught. Only
after the last river has been
poisoned. Only then will you
realize that money cannot
be eaten.
~Cree Nation


eimear brennan said...

Thanks roisin, have just signed that and will send it out to as many people as i can.
"thank god, they cannot cut down the clouds"...thoreau

ruthie said...

Roisin, i am not suprised you want to rant! It is so sad & ridiculous, why cant folks leave well alone. Our beautiful forests & woods are not a commodity to be passed from pillar to post, they are ancient & wise & precious, it makes me want to weep x

Jeanne said...

Such sad news. :0( My heart weeps at the thought of all those trees being cut down.
I have signed the petition and shall be blogging about this soon.

Anonymous said...

Signed the petition! I would sign it a thousand times over. This whole thing just makes my blood boil. I could go into my own rant about corporations and their political toadies, but I'll refrain for now.

Charlotte Lynelle said...

I have to admit, I'm envious of the country you live in. I've always wanted to visit Ireland. It's a beautiful country, and you get a national tree week. Hahaha!

I signed the petition.

mirsini's creations said...

Ηi my lovely friend! You're mad and you're right! We must help you save your magical forests for sure! I will sign up for sure and pass it on as i can! Come a visit to my blog , o.k ?
Many kisses to you!

Anthropomorphica said...

Oh Roisin, So sad to here the Irish woodlands are facing the same fate, thank goodness there's a reprieve here! The more that sign the petition the better, hope the Irish government will see sense and decide to protect the ancient woodlands, once they're gone... Ah, doesn't bear thinking about!

Anthropomorphica said...

make that "hear" ;)

Róisín said...

Thank you all so much my friends! I knew if there was one crowd who'd agree with me on this it'd be you lot :)

Gypsea Tree {Steam Spectre} said...

UGH! I don't blame you one bit. That makes me sad and angry as well. I love some trees more than a lot of people...

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

No, no, say it's not so! I thank-you for the info! blessings,Amy

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