Global Ethics Corner: Forest Preservation

Sep 4, 2009

How do we put value on the forests as an indispensable element of our survival? Can we balance market mechanisms with regulations and consumption with sustainability?

The world's tropical and old-growth forests are a major part of humanity's biological inheritance. They provide beauty, sustenance, and irreplaceable ecological needs such as carbon sequestration, watershed protection, and rich, uncatalogued biodiversity.

When timber companies, agribusiness, or subsistence farmers clear-cut these forests for furniture, livestock, or crops, the true loss and cost is rarely factored into the products.

The Forest Stewardship Council labels and certifies wood products that are harvested sustainably. Yet illegal logging continues to feed consumer demand.

The United Nations proposes a fund to pay developing countries for maintaining their forests. This program would lock carbon dioxide in the trees and ecosystems and compensate poor countries for not exploiting their timber. Norway contributed, and others may join if forests are included in a new climate treaty.

There is also a major question of environmental justice, of indigenous rights. Forest-dwelling tribes have inhabited their lands for centuries without "owning" them. What is their entitlement?

How do we put value on the forests as an indispensable element of our survival? Can we balance market mechanisms and regulations, consumption and sustainability? What do you think?

By Evan O'Neil

You may also like

President Macron at the World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda, January 2021. <br>CREDIT: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/50877135273">World Economic Forum/Pascal Bitz</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(CC)</a>

MAR 30, 2021 Article

ESG Offers Capacity, Capital, and Consensus for Global Challenges

In this article, Carnegie New Leader Ravipal Bains outlines an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) led reorientation of the global financial system. The core idea ...

OCT 18, 2021 Podcast

C2GTalk: How can multilateral processes shape the governance of climate-altering approaches? with Franz Perrez

Addressing the global challenge of governing climate-altering approaches through multilateralism is not just possible but necessary, says Ambassador Franz Perrez during a "C2GTalk" interview. ...

Senator Kamala Harris in Las Vegas, April 2019. CREDIT: <a href=https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/46823600565>Gage Skidmore</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC)</a>.

AUG 14, 2020 Article

Senator Kamala Harris & Foreign Policy Narratives

Joe Biden's selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate represents a series of shifts in terms of identity and experience. But her foreign ...