Greenwashing is a term that describes a company or organization that spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually working to minimize environmental impact. Burned: Are Trees the New Coal? is a short documentary film by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, and part of the Weed, Water, and Wood trilogy the Mendocino Film Festival will present at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 at Matheson Performing Arts Center in Mendocino. The three films examine environmental, economic, and climate issues that impact Mendocino locally, nationally and globally.
Listen as Joy LaClaire of Forthright Radio interviews the filmmakers here.
Film Powerfully Illustrates Destruction of Forest Lands for Fuel
The Union of Concerned Scientists states: “like all of our energy sources, biopower has environmental risks that need to be mitigated. If not managed and monitored carefully, biomass for energy can be harvested at unsustainable rates, damage ecosystems, produce harmful air pollution, consume large amounts of water, and produce net global warming emissions.”
That’s putting it mildly. Burned: Are Trees the New Coal? portrays the destruction of forests for fuel, and looks at the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant greenwashing of the burgeoning biomass power industry. A dedicated group of forest activists, ecologists, carbon scientists, and concerned citizens are fighting to establish the enormous value of our forests, protect their communities, debunk this false solution to climate change, and alter energy policy both in the U.S. and abroad.
Green “Make Believe”= Greenwashing
The biomass industry’s cutting down of trees to make pellets for fuel is a ludicrous endeavor. Burning releases massive amounts of carbon—50%-60% more than a coal plant. It takes a beautiful tree tree 50-100 years to grow to the same size as the original tree that is cut down. That’s way too late to be able to offset the carbon released when a felled tree is burned. Yet the process of cutting down trees in order to make fuel in the form of pellets is legally “carbon neutral”. It is necessary to plant 20-30 trees for every tree that is cut down, and who knows how many companies comply with that guideline? Greenwashing allows companies to pillage forests. What is better for life on earth than a forest? How do we feel when we are in a forest? What better way do we have to filter water and sequester carbon than trees and soil in a forest? A quote from the Daily Mail in London says it perfectly: “ politicians in charge have become so lost in ‘green’ make-believe that their behavior amounts to collective insanity.”
It’s Not Too Late to Stop Greenwashing and Biomass Production
Many organizations such as the Dogwood Alliance, the John Muir Project , Birdlife Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, the International Tree Foundation, and the Global Forest Coalition as well as dozens of others are fighting to stop the negative impact of biomass production on the the environment, local communities, people’s health, the climate, and our precious forests. This film will open eyes to a subject everyone needs to know is vital for the health and sustainability of the planet. Dater and Merton have co-directed and produced Home to Tibet, about a refugee returning to his homeland, and Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, about the first environmentalist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1996, Lisa has been a member of New Day Films, a documentary film collective. Read more about their film work together here.
Forthright Radio, with host Joy LaClaire is based in Bozeman, Montana, and features interviews with dynamic and important authors, filmmakers, and persons of interest. Forthright Radio is a Beyond The Deep End production, originally broadcast from the Philo studio of KZYX fm, listener-supported Mendocino County Public Broadcasting.
Special Showing Taking Root, The Vision of Wangari Maathai
If you are in the area, or live on the coast, don’t miss a special event on Wednesday, June 6, at 7:00 pm when Taking Root, The Vision of Wangari Maathai will be shown at Caspar Community Center just north of Mendocino. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt movement in Kenya, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, helped to spread environmentalism by encouraging women in Kenya to plant trees. Filmmakers Lisa Merton and Alan Dater will be on hand for Q&A with Pat Ferrero, who programmed the film at the festival several years ago. Call the center at 707-964-4997 for more information.