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Letter from Ed - Dr. Moore Coming - What a Treat!
Former founder of Greenpeace addressed the crowd at the Atlanta Expo.

By Dr. Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 8/1/1999

While some readers have heard of Dr. Patrick Moore, many have not had the privilege of hearing him speak. Patrick delivered the keynote address at the recent Atlanta Expo. For over an hour he spoke and entertained questions until he had to hustle off to catch a plane. His reception was fantastic! Most of us would have gladly stayed for another hour to hear his words of environmental wisdom.

You will get another chance because he is scheduled to speak Oct. 29 at the NWPCA Pallet Summit in Cincinnati. If you are considering whether to attend, I urge you to go. Past Pallet Summits have been some of the best pallet meetings and networking opportunities in our industry. This year Dr. Moore will add a special dimension. Based upon what I heard in Atlanta, I guarantee it.

Patrick was one of the founding members of Greenpeace. He is a true environmentalist, all the way through to the core. Unlike many preservationists, who call themselves environmentalists, Patrick grew up in the forests of British Columbia and has had the rare privilege of living in them his whole life. After 15 years of being a Greenpeace leader, he had some new insights. It was time for him to switch from confrontation to consensus, time to stop fighting and start talking with the people in charge. He became a convert to the idea of sustainable development and the need to consider social and economic issues along with his environmental values.

He now heads Greenspirit and is a consultant on environmental policy and communications. Patrick is an environmentalist who loves both the forest and the forest products industry. He loves our industry because he believes the approaches being taken by modern forestry represent a sound, scientific approach to providing both forests and lumber. We need — in fact, we must have — our world’s forests. But we need wood as well. So, the forest products industry and society must work together for proper management of the precious gift we call forests.

The most common new term associated with improvements in forest management is "sustainable forestry." This is derived from the general concept of sustainable development or "sustainability," as it is now often expressed. Sustainable forestry means adding the social and economic issues to the environmental issues and balancing all three. This is no small task. It requires understanding the scientific implications of mankind’s actions.

Patrick stated, "The key to understanding sustainability is to realize that it is entirely about planning for the future. Sustainable forestry is not concerned with what has happened to forests in the past, but what will happen to the land during coming generations. It is not legitimate to declare that a particular piece of wood came from a sustainable forest unless we know that forest will continue to be maintained in a healthy, productive state for centuries to come.

Therefore the most important factors underlying sustainability are the institutional arrangements that ensure the land will be properly tended and will not be converted to other uses such as agriculture or urban development.

Through the art and science of forestry it has been possible to understand a great deal about trees and the environments that support their growth. Many of the lessons learned over the long history of agriculture are applicable to forestry.

Patrick supports the concept of clear-cutting as being a valid practice when it is done properly. Its benefits are often not recognized, much less publicized. All of us who believe in the truth when it comes to protecting our forests while using them must first learn the truth. Then we should learn how to pull together and help others understand what we have learned.

If these paragraphs touch on a subject that you believe is important, one that you should understand in order to take part in helping the forest products industry, then cast your vote to attend the Pallet Summit this October. You will thoroughly enjoy and appreciate what Patrick shares with us. I guarantee it.

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