Illegal logging and deforestation has become one of the largest environmental issues of the modern age. Every day we unknowingly make life choices which invariably support the practice and which reduce the incentive for companies to source products which are certified as coming from a sustainable and legal source.
Every person on earth has a duty to the planet and to the environment to do what they can to stop illegal logging and to halt the destruction of our forests. Here’s what you can do:
- Mindful purchasing
As a consumer, you can help reduce the demand for illegal logging by ensuring that you only purchase products which are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is currently the best global standard in forest management, and provides a system for interested parties to work towards responsible forest management .
By purchasing FSC certified products, you are doing two things: you are ensuring that you aren’t supporting unsustainable or illegal logging, and you are also supporting companies who strive to do the right thing.
If you have trouble sourcing products which are certified by the FSC, then talk to your local store. Shop owners are usually willing to listen to their customer’s opinions. If you make it known that you would like them to stock sustainable, certified wood and paper products, they usually will: they value the business you provide .
Many forest management groups, including the Forest Stewardship Council, are non-profit organisations. They rely on the assistance of people like you and me to spread information about sustainable forestry and logging.
Hop on the internet, do some research into an organisation near you who fights for sustainability – be it a local organisation or a worldwide group who works in tropical rainforests – and do what you can to help.
It doesn’t have to be a lot, if you can give a few hours a week, great. If you can only give a few hours per month, that doesn’t matter, everything helps !
- Be a voice
There are two ways that you can act as a direct influence to stop illegal logging: by spreading the word amongst your community, and by ensuring that you support a political group with good environmental policies.
As someone once said, ‘Knowledge is Power’. One of the biggest reasons that illegal logging has such a hold on the world timber industry is because a lot of people don’t know about it, and those who do don’t realize how big the problem is . It’s up to us – the people who understand the issues and who are willing to go out of our way to make a change – to spread the word.
Talk to your friends and family. Share informative links or articles on social media. Even something as simple as sticking a poster in a store window can make a huge difference.
As a voter, you have the power to make your voice heard at election time. Research the policies and core values of each party before voting, and ensure that you support the one which has the best environmental guidelines. This way legislation can be introduced which, for example, could ban the importation of forestry products which aren’t certified as from a sustainable or renewable source .
- Make a monetary donation
Most non-profit organisations rely on donations from the public in order to fund their campaigns. If you follow a particular group – be it Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the Forest Stewardship Council, or any other – consider making a small donation so that they can keep campaigning for future of our planet.
There you have it. As a consumer of forest products, you are able to influence logging practices in forests across the world by making sustainable choices and by being a source of knowledge to those around you. Remember – knowledge is power!