Wednesday, September 9, 2009

High Line, City help kill the Amazon rainforest

From Alternet:

Turns out, Friends of the High Line, the group that masterminded the park, built all the chaise lounges, benches, bleacher seating and decking with tropical hardwood ripped from the jungles of the Amazon.

Friends' wood of choice, ipê, grows throughout the Amazon at an average of 1 to 2 trees per acre; well-funded loggers bulldoze a virtual ant farm of roads to chase down these scattered trees.

In the Amazon, the consumption of export -- quality wood, including ipê, is the primary factor leading to deforestation -- mostly because logging roads open up previously inaccessible areas of forest to land speculators, cattle ranchers and farmers.

To make matters worse, according to the Brazilian government, 80 percent of logging in the Amazon is done illegally. And the heavily armed criminal cartels doing this logging also have a nasty record of stealing land from indigenous people and killing those who get in their way. Illegal loggers are even known to employ slave laborers, as reported in an exposé by investigative reporters from Knight-Ridder.

Unfortunately, when it comes to materials used in New York City's public infrastructure, Friends' preferences are far from unique. Tim Keating, executive director of Rainforest Relief, an environmental watchdog group, said that during the 1960s, the city's Department of Parks and Recreation began using tropical woods for renovations to 10-plus miles of coastal boardwalks.

By the mid-80s, multiple city agencies were, in his words, "on tropical forest feeding frenzy." They imported rain forest wood not just for all the boardwalks, but also for the promenade of the Brooklyn Bridge and tens of thousands of park benches, subway track ties, and pilings along the Staten Island Ferry terminals (each piling is a single tree from old-growth Guyanese rain forest).


Anonymous said...

I have an idea. We have second growth forest in America. Not the best wood, but acceptable for a multitude of uses. Let's use it, and keep the money at home.

Trees grow, more can be planted. I see a perfect use for Obama's stimulus package that doesn't involve Cash for Clunkers sending half the money to Japan.

What about it kids? Next year planting trees instead of hanging out without work?

Anonymous said...

Nothing new....check out the wooden decking at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport.

Architect Robert Meadows used either teak or ipe wood.

Nothing's too good for the yuppies and tourists!

Anonymous said...

Slam Thompson...that plantation house servant that's owned by the NYC real estate developers!

Anonymous said...

Bloomturd gets wood every time a tree is destroyed!