"The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil, and streams."
Sound like a quote from Al Gore, circa 2006? No -- John Muir, 1876. Over a hundred years ago Muir and fellow conservationists put our leaders on notice of the connection between forest health and climate. Now, a growing body of literature confirms the dire consequences of having ignored their call to protect our remaining wild forests.
At the heart of any scandal lies the question of who knew what when. For decades, our leadership has had all the evidence it needs to prioritize forest preservation. That makes the ongoing, federally subsidized plunder of our largest national forest--Alaska's Tongass--a monumental scandal indeed.
In September, Bush officials used some of their last moments in office to stamp 'approved' on plans to open up millions of pristine acres in the Tongass to destructive logging and new timber roads. Unless President-elect Obama acts quickly, the chainsaws could start up as early as this spring.
Last summer, I had the life-changing opportunity to travel to the heart of the Tongass and to record the stories of remarkable people who are seeing the consequences of this scandal unfold every day. Traveling with them, I was able to witness first hand the scale of the waste and experience the breathtaking wonder of what remains. As a consequence, I have come to share the depth of their feeling for the forest they call home.
Hear their voices first hand in the video above and please consider taking action now to urge President-elect Obama to protect the Tongass by upholding the Roadless Rule there-and in all national forests across the country.