What is a REAL Treehugger?

REAL treehugger logo
A REAL Treehugger knows that sustainable forestry:
Renews and replenishes the ecosystem; promotes
Economic growth;
Accumulates more carbon; and is the
Lifeblood of communities!

In recent years we have seen increasing opposition to forestry activities and a related reduction of available fibre under the guise of environmental protection, with little consideration of the economic and social needs of our communities. Recent activities by some environmental groups appear to assign a higher value to the environment than they do to economic and social development needs. Their attacks on the forest industry represent a direct assault on the communities across Northwestern Ontario that depend on sustainable forestry to provide jobs for their families.

The citizens of Northern Ontario who live, work, and play in our forests need to remind these activists in their big city offices that we are the REAL treehuggers. We fully understand the importance of sustainable forestry to ensure the ongoing support of jobs in our communities and we are committed to the three pillar approach to sustainable development.

For stories about some REAL Treehuggers, check out our recent posts.

28 Responses to What is a REAL Treehugger?

  1. BT says:

    Wow – not since the launch of “Ethical Oil” have I seen such a clever play on words! You’re so right about big-city environmentalists caring more about clean water/ air than the economy, as if a habitable planet were a “prerequisite” to all other human activity. (Not sure exactly where the “social needs” thing fits in, but you seem pretty trustworthy). All the talk about “diversifying” our economy is misguided: we Northerners were meant to extract resources, so why try to do anything else? I’m glad to see the local mayors have recognized this and declared their industry allegiance, rather than trying to be annoyingly impartial. Ah, treehugger…it’s time to reclaim this word. As our tall, green friends know, it’s not a REAL “hug” unless someone is holding a chainsaw.

    • Real Woman says:

      REAL women was a group of women who pushed back against women who lobbied for equal rights and access to all professions, equal pay for work of equal value, equal access to opportunity in male dominated industry (yes, like forestry Jamie Lim), day care, cessation of violence against women and all types of benefits that have become mainstream. REAL women branded women wanting change as radical and even as raging lesbians, (Note the current Premier is a lesbian married to another woman). They are out of date and rather anachronistic, REAL Treehuggers might have chosen another, more credible acronym.

      • BT says:

        Yes, that is another reason this campaign is offensive. Although I doubt the propagandists are particularly concerned about copyright issues in this case. This site is a response to Greenpeace’s withdrawal from the CBFA (because of the blatant violations of the agreement by Resolute Forest Products). Rather than attempting to abide by the agreement, Resolute has decided enlist local politicians to do their bidding in a Peter Kent-style trashing of environmentalists (we’re all jet-setting celebrities from the “big cities,” haven’t you heard?). Here is the real scoop: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/its-over-resolute-forest-products/blog/43395/

      • Real Woman says:

        “TreeHugger” was a not-so-flattering term for individuals in the 1970s who were trying to save the ancient redwood forests of British Columbia from logging. Some protesters actually did tie themselves to trees, hence the term TreeHugger.

        They were not against forestry; they were against destroying what could become a world heritage site – a permanent tourist destination and source of income for BC long after the trees were gone. Further, those were days well before we began to appreciate the threat of climate change on everything. It was before the concept of ‘sustainability’ was coined, and before scientists began to notice the rapid disappearance of plant and animal life.

        Environmentalists now connect the relationship between the economy and forestry, climate change, renewable resources and the need to move away from fossil fuels. Many people still view environmentalism as associated with beauty, or the romantic ideology of going back to nature. It has moved well beyond that stage, however, its understanding has not changed in many circles. To call an environmentalist today a TreeHugger reflects a lack of understanding of what it is about. The message of climate change and disappearing species is not what we want to hear. It is easier to shoot the messenger than to heed the message.

      • Beulah says:

        I would like to know what OFA and NOMA say about the Greenpeace assertion in the website cited by BT above. This website here however states that Greenpeace is telling lies.

        Do the OFA and NOMA deny Resolute’s actions? Unfortunately, we are getting only the story from one side, and an incomplete story at that.

      • charlee23 says:

        You can read Resolute’s response to the Greenpeace allegations here and make your own opinion:

      • Beulah says:

        Thanks…those were interesting. I have always viewed Greenpeace as wild cards of the environmental movement. I see NOMA and OFA putting all environment NGOs in the same category. It is sad that they pulled out despite whatever their issues were. Perhaps the industry needs to partner with groups interested in solving problems more than pulling sensational stunts. It seems that NOMA is reacting to and focusing on the actions of this one group and ignoring the positions of other, more credible groups.

  2. Red Rider says:

    Leave your computers this summer and go out to areas that were clear cut a few years ago. The mess that these companies are leaving in the bush will make you cry. Replanting at the rate of 4 trees per sq. foot boosts the count but the trees don’t grow. If you want to be green go out and see for yourselves.

    • G Graham R.P.F. says:

      4 trees per square foot?? You’re right, at that density the trees will choke but let’s not brand serious legislated regeneration efforts by the action of a greedy planter who creamed out a landing and likely lost pay over it. Have you gone back to those same areas not a few years later, but 10, 20 and 30 years after? Cutovers are not pretty but neither is a burn or blowdown. In 20 years you won’t recognize the place because the forest is back and beautiful with planted trees mixed into natural ingress. You only have to go out and see with an open mind.

    • dsc says:

      Apparently you never left your computer, I can take you to a fire burn that happened in 1980 and a clear cut that same year, and the clear cut trees are at least 10 feet higher than the fire. And the clear cut forest is much healthier than the burned area.

  3. pcmct says:

    To say even close to 3 trees are planted for every one cut is a gross exaggeration . I urge people to drive to the bush and see for yourself the rape of our forests by these forest companies . The only payback for replanting is moral , so it doesn’t get done !

    • G Graham R.P.F. says:

      Before rushing out to the bush in a rage, I recommend taking a few minuts to read Ontario’s Annual Reports on Forest Management; http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Forests/2ColumnSubPage/STDPROD_101824.html. There’s no direct correlation between the number of trees harvested and the number that must be planted to regrow a forest. There are many ways to regrow a forest. Planting trees is only one tool. The number of trees planned to regenerate naturally is not even counted but far exceeds what’s planted.

      In 2009-10, 99,500 hectares of public forest were harvested. 152,000 hectares were regenerated. 94,000 hectares were regenerated by natural methods. 58,000 hectares were planted. On those 58,000 hectares there were 82 million trees planted for a density of 1,400 trees per hectare on the planted areas. Forest regeneration is legislated in Ontario. You only have to go out with an open mind to see the results.

      • pcmct says:

        I don’t rush into the bush in a rage , I calmly go fishing , camping , berry picking , you know , the usual stuff . Then I drive by the carnage left by logging operations . Is there a time limit on legislated regeneration ? Cause I’m still waiting . Oh wait , that must be the natural regeneration method . Maybe we can aerial seed . Whoops , then we have to thin . It costs big money to plant trees , so I understand the preference for natural regeneration . Unfortunately only time will tell how successful methods used will be .

  4. Barb Pickering says:

    It would be useful if this site included the positions presented by environmental groups, rather than simply saying they are against forestry. Where are the position papers on which you base your assumptions? Are we to simply follow blindly on your say-so because the Forestry Industry tells you what to say? Environmentalists are pushing us to move towards renewable resources. That includes use of wood. From what I have read, they are saying only ‘do it right’.

    • charlee23 says:

      We would encourage you to read our recent post “media release”. It contains a backgrounder that highlights numerous recent instances where environmental groups are twisting the facts to undermine forestry.

      The REAL Treehugger campaign has been launched in an attempt to bring balance to the discussion – we are supportive of protecting our environment in a balanced way that does not put Northerners on the “endangered species list”. Every action that humans make on this earth has some sort of environmental impact and needs to be undertaken in a way that mitigates unnecessary negative effects but with an understanding of the needs of economic and social outcomes. Our citizens need jobs and our communities need social services through payment of taxes from those jobs.

      • Barb Pickering says:

        Yes, that is included here, and I did read it. However, can you also include the original positions or discussion papers of Greenpeace and more moderate groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation. We have here only one side of the story, yours, and nothing from the mouths of the groups to whose actions you are objecting. As you say, you want balance. I think that this would be how to achieve it.

        There must also be a differentiation between what ESA is about and what reforestation is about. If we lose too many species as a result of industry, the eco-system will be thrown out of balance severely and eventually no forest will be able to flourish no matter how much re-planting occurs. There goes the jobs and the industry. Too bad next generation. The Boomers took it all – for the sake of jobs and wealth- for them.

      • BT says:

        Who exactly do you work for, charlee23? It’s cute when companies try to present biased information as fact. Is Greenpeace “twisting the facts” when they say Resolute has not agreed to any concrete conservation plans 2 1/2 years into the CBFA agreement? You took a page right out of the Harper government’s handbook on how to attack environmentalists (and set up a false dichotomy: jobs vs. the environment). Really, it’s all about money – that is the primary purpose of the forestry industry. So when I see companies trying to convince the public that they’re the “real” conservationists…well, that’s a bit rich.

  5. BT says:

    Oh, wait, I think I’ve figured it out. NOMA director Charla Robinson? Any relation by chance to the Tim Robinson you featured as a REAL Treehugger? Just trying to get my facts straight.

    • charlee23 says:

      What is your point BT? Yes I have family members who work in the forest industry. That is exactly why I have a personal understanding of the importance of sustainable forestry. My family has worked in the pulp and paper industry for nearly 100 years and I hope that my ancestors will continue to be good stewards of the forest to provide employment and support social needs in my community for the next 100 years or more. Forestry is the only truly renewable resource!

      I live in a region that has lost thousands of jobs because of the downturn of the industry and many of my friends and family were affected. Now that the global situation is improving, I want to ensure that our legislators look at all three factors of sustainability when making laws and regulations that impact natural resource industries. I believe in balance: Environmental, economic and social impacts have to evaluated together.

      • BT says:

        I’m not sure what my point will be just yet. Right now I’m merely connecting the dots. I’ll keep you posted.

    • NRT says:

      Hey BT which engo group are you associated with and I am assuming you live in Northern Ontario and are a Registered Forester.
      We are all trying to get our facts straight.

      • BT says:

        I don’t work for ANY environmental group and I DO live Northern Ontario (in the forest). I’m not a registered forester.

  6. charlee23 says:

    Beulah – NOMA is pointing out and providing examples where we believe some environmental groups have gone too far. We don’t want to get into a war with anyone – we simply want to encourage a more balanced approach to sustainable development that considers the THREE pillars and not just one.

    In February, the David Suzuki Foundation were actively (email campaign) opposing the Ontario Endangered Species Act regulation that would provide a more balanced approach to species protection for forestry (species protection is already addressed through forest management plans under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act). Greenpeace linked their items on the topic to Suzuki’s website/email campaign.

  7. LJR says:

    What a great campaign! There is very little information out there about the social importance of forestry to our Province, not just to those who make a living by working in the woods but of wood as a renewable, sustainable resource in general. We are lucky to have such a resource that has sustained our communities for over a century and, under the careful management of REAL treehuggers, will continue to benefit future generations. I look forward to reading more.

  8. Barb Pickering says:

    Isn’t this all just moot now:

    NOMA Pleased With Provincial Decision

    By CKDR News – March 4th, 2013 – 8:00am

    A victory for northern Municipalities.
    Dave Canfield is the Vice-President of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and he says lobbying efforts asking the government to not make changes to the Endangered Species Act have paid off.
    Canfield says the appeal period ended on February 25th.
    He says the changes would have added more red tape and have a negative impact on the surging forest industry.
    This despite a furious attack by environmental groups.
    Canfield says the province is using some common sense and letting the forest industry rebound continue.

  9. NRT says:

    Nice to see posts by people that believe that the pull out of Greenpeace from the CBFA was ok since it wasn’t working in Greenpeaces favor.

    Funny that since June of 2012 Municipality’s and First Nations community’s have been actively requesting observation status on the CBFA to ensure the social and economic pillars are considered, as of to date no response. I guess the ENGO’s are fearful that they can’t take on Municipality’s and First Nations so get out and blame someone else.
    I guess the ENGO’s support the pollution of the air since the First Nations within the Boreal forest are forced to burn diesel for their electricity needs to provide lights and heat.
    Oh yea save the caribou that is one elusive animal cause we are all still trying to find out where they live. Forest fires destroy more timber,plants and animals than cutting down trees.
    Years ago a forest that was clear cut had more benefits to the the animals in the forest with new growth providing food for all the animals in the forest.
    It is a legislative law that the forest be re planted. Ontario has the highest standard for forest management in the world.
    We all believe that there is a balance of what the forest can provide in fact it is a RENEWABLE resource, yes RENEWABLE.
    Forest companies are cutting back in areas that where harvested 40 years ago because they replanted the area.
    As for the ENGO’s sometimes I think they can’t see the forest for the trees.

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  11. Ron says:

    I have watched. A construction company cut and pile approximately 75 to 100 full log loads of beautiful hardwood to clear way for the new 407 extension I completely understand the need to do this and have no objections to it. However iv been watching this pile for sometime waiting for the day to see the lucking logging company that would be hauling this resource away to my shock and disbelief this construction company has tried to barry this massive amount of wood under approx 3 feet of dirt even as fire wood that would heat 75 to 100 homes for four to six years and as fire wood the cost is somewhere around 150.000 to 200.000

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