Industrial rainforest logging is often posited as a benign activity by groups funded by the logging industry.
Australia is seeing a rise in groups that purport to champion environmental causes but are actually actively undermining them as front organizations for industrial interests, argues an op-ed published in The Ecologist.
William F. Laurance, a scientist at James Cook University, highlights recent campaigns by several organizations with green-sounding names, including a push by the “Australian Environment Foundation” to delist World Heritage listing for 74,000 hectares of rainforests in the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area for industrial logging.
“Despite its name, the Australian Environment Foundation is not pro-environment. In fact, I consider it anti-environment, at least by the prevailing definition of that term,” writes Laurance.
“For instance, the AEF opposes wind farms, many mainstream efforts to combat climate change, and what it labels ‘green thuggery’ – such as initiatives to make cattle ranching more environmentally benign via the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.”
Laurance notes that a recent director of the AEF is Alan Oxley, a former Australian trade ambassador that in some years has collected $10,000 an hour running World Growth International, which has lobbied on behalf of companies driving large-scale destruction of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Oxley has become notorious in environmental circles for misrepresenting the views of Nobel Prize winner Wangari Matthai and making misleading claims about drivers of deforestation and the economic importance of industrial forestry.
The researcher concludes by calling for fuller disclosure of these groups agendas and funding sources.
“Environmental front groups often rely on a veil of secrecy”, he writes. “Oxley consistently refuses to reveal who funds World Growth.”