By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Don’t know if it’s the financial crisis, the change of seasons or just the usual grumpiness over the incessant despoiling of the mothership, but the green agitators seem especially edgy lately.
Reuters reported Monday that Greenpeace had blockaded palm oil ships leaving an Indonesian port bound for China and Europe. Their point: harvesting palm oil in that region is destroying rainforests and wildlife and contributing to greenhouse gases (remember those warm climate forests are especially valuable carbon sinks).
The activists were reportedly bobbing in rubber boats out in front of the palm oil ships and one Greenpeacer was seen jumping aboard the anchor of a ship, where he or she presumably clung for dear life.
This action was eerily familiar to one in Australia three days ago in which protesters also flung themselves in harm’s way, forcing the evacuation of an Australian power station by attempting to chain themselves to a coal conveyor-belt.
No doubt they were upset that Australia draws so much of its power from dirty-burning, greenhouse-gas-emitting coal, which supplies 80 percent of the nation’s electricity, according to the Reuters report.
Of course such actions are nothing new. We’ve reported about the long-running dispute between Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark over the company’s near exclusive reliance on virgin paper for making retail tissues. K-C says the public wants cushy nose rags. Greenpeace counters that recycled would be good enough for sneezing, and far less harmful to the fragile Canadian forests being tapped for this disposable product.
All these conflicts simply highlight the obvious. We have to set priorities if we’re to preserve our planet. Can we use another oil if it helps save Indonesian rainforests? Can we support, with our votes and our selection of household power companies, the move to renewable energy? Can we shop around to find recycled paper products, and reduce our disposable paper use, to help save forests?
Sure we can. The only real question is, will we?
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