North America has the most sustainably harvested forests in the world. We have local companies like Chisholm Lumber who have been harvesting the same land for over 150 years. There is a respect for the land and its beauty that isn’t shared in many other countries. Other than a few bad apples, illegal logging is virtually non-existent. We have government agencies and protection in place, and let’s face it, if a logger is clear cutting a hardwood forest, someone will notice, and a complaint will be filed.
This is not the case in the rest of the world. Countries are clear cutting forests including National Parks and most of this is orchestrated by organized crime. It is estimated that more than 10% of logs entering China have been harvested illegally. In this day and age, how does this happen? Are there no rules or government agencies in place to stop this? There may be, but if government officials are corrupt and willing to take a bribe to “look the other way” these criminals have free range to decimate forests.
One of the culprits is Amina J. Mohammed. If that name sounds familiar, it is because she is the Secretary General of the United Nations. She is one of the world’s leading proponents of environmental protection and sustainable development. Prior to become Secretary General of the UN, she was the Minister of Environment in Nigeria. Nigeria is known to have one of the most corrupt governments in the world, and it appears Mrs. Mohammed fit in just fine. Like many phony environmental activists, it appears the Secretary General of the UN is a fraud. Rosewood, also known as Kosso is a beautiful wood found in Nigeria and throughout Africa. It is also very rare and considered endangered. In May of 2016, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) added Kosso (Rosewood) to the list of wood species that require the signing of an international certificate before it can legally be exported. Even though the exporting of logs has been banned from Nigeria since 1976, between January 2014 and December 2016, an average of 3000 logs per day were exported, mostly to China. Most of the profits from this went to organized crime syndicates or terrorist organizations like Boca Haram.
Between May and December of 2016, as many as 10,000 shipping containers were detained by authorities for not having proper CITES documentation, meaning there was a high probability the shipping containers held illegal logs. You would think an environmental crusader like Mrs. Mohammed would take a stance against this illegal activity, and maybe share with the world what a huge problem this is and garner international support and attention. Nope! Just weeks before her new post at the United Nations, she began approving certificates allowing the delivery of more than 1.4 million illegal logs to China. According to one Nigerian forestry official, she signed 2,992 export certificates on January 16th alone! I find it hard to believe that the Nigerian forestry department could inspect 2,992 shipping containers in a single day, but who knows, maybe their government is more efficient than ours. It sounds like a fraud to me!
Nothing frustrates me more than phony environmentalists. Like the celebrity speaking out against Alberta Oil Sands while travelling on their yacht and private jet. Or the people protesting against a pipeline who leave their protest site littered with garbage. Or the worst of all…. The hardwood flooring manufacturer promoting themselves as being “green” even though their flooring is made in China from illegal logs. If you want to be environmentally responsible, buy from local North American manufacturers. Small North American manufacturers like us aren’t screaming “we’re green” because it’s part of who we are. We were green before green was cool (and marketable). The company who’s marketing pitch starts with “buy from us. We’re green” probably aren’t. For more information, check out the video Rosewood Racket and links below.