Derrick Jensen and George Draffan. Strangely Like War: The Gobal Assault on Forests. Foreword by Vandana Shiva. White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003. Paperback, ix + 185 pages.
Deforestation, which has been a problem ever since the Neolithic, is upon us with a vengeance. Every year we lose some 120,000 square miles of precious forest, which is the size of New Mexico, Poland, Norway, or Finland. Every year we witness the extinction of some 50,000 species. Every year those of our fellow humans who live in the jungles of South America, Africa, or the Phillipines have their indigenous land stolen right from under their feet and are facing genocide. If you have ever stumbled on a clearcut area, you will have to agree with the authors that it is “strangely like war.” It is a heart-wrenching experience.
What makes this whole situation even more serious and sinister is the fact that governments are in cahoots with the big multinational corporations to continue this ruthless program of devastation. Jensen and Draffan’s book is a hard-hitting exposé of all the shenanigans to which governments and corporations stoop in pursuit of profit: disinformation, lies, corruption, and rigged system. They also remind us of the inherently destructive ideologies of globalization and consumerism. The rapaciousness for which these ideologies stand is bound to destroy us in the end.
The authors are pleading for a move away from industrial forestry to responsible restoration forestry, followed by a comprehensive restoration ecology. But this means the governments of the world must acknowledge the present insanity and curb the multinationals’ insatiable hunger for timber. It also means that overconsumption must stop. Unbelievably, California consumes c. 900 pounds of paper per person per year. This state has 36 million residents! The present “solutions” to this worldwide problem are not working. Saner alternative proposals exist but are waiting to be implemented.
“Most of us environmentalists—grassroots environmentalists, not the corporate environmentalists of the Sierra Club and Audbon national offices—are holding on by our fingernails, trying to save whatever scraps of forests we an, using whatever tools we can cobble together, putting our hearts and minds and time and sometimes bodies between the chainsaws and the forests we love. And we are praying, every moment of every day, for civilization to end. For this culture to run out of oil, to collapse in on itself. For this long and awful nightmare of deforestation and dispossession to end” (pp. 139-140).
The authors, who fight in the trenches and know the assault on the environment and on our future first-hand, deserve our gratitude and support. At the very least buy this book, read it carefullyś, and let it ignite your wisdom and common sense.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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