Magazine article Insight on the News

Waste & Abuse

Magazine article Insight on the News

Waste & Abuse

Article excerpt

Bringing the Environment Battle to the Burbs

Demonstrating that organized environmentalism is at heart as much about economics as it is about ecology, the Seattle Times recently reported that antilogging groups, having succeeded beyond their dreams in driving lumbermen from the forests, now are choosing targets of protest much closer to the hearts of average Americans. The groups are making "big-box" megastores, rather than remote old growth forests, the new front line in their guerrilla war against the Industrial Revolution.

California's Rainforest Action Network first employed the tactic last year against the hardware chain Home Depot, organizing parking-lot protests condemning the chain's sale of wood from so-called old-growth forests. "The forest-activist movement had been targeting logging companies for years, but all we were doing was shoving the logging companies around from one watershed to another," an organizer at the Rainforest Action Network told the paper. "So we looked at where it was being sold, and Home Depot was the cream that rose to the top."

But soon after Home Depot buckled under pressure, an action mimicked by certain competitors, the Network and allied groups began looking around for other targets of opportunity. Office-supply giant Staples was the next logical choice, given the amount of paper products it sells. So protests recently were organized at Staples stores in Montana and Washington state, according to the paper, as activists demanded that the chain increase its sales of recycled-paper products.

Hoping to avert a public-relations disaster, officials at Staples met with protesters and pledged to do more, pointing out that the chain already sells 1,000 different recycled products, the vast majority of them paper-based. But one protest leader from Montana's Native Forest Network, for whom consumer preferences and profit-and-loss margins are alien concepts, quite naturally judged the outlet's placations to be inadequate. "The recycled content in their paper, really, to be blunt, is pitiful," he summarily told the Times.

So while chain saws may have fallen silent across many U.S. forests, the din of environmentalist ax-grinding evidently will not cease until every last bastion of this hopelessly materialist, consumerist, capitalist society has bent to the dictates of utopian Greens. …

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