PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nonprofit organization Oregon Wild will join other activists in Downtown Portland Thursday to ask President Joe Biden to take direct action in protecting the country’s mature and old-growth forests.
Oregon Wild aims to preserve the state’s wildlands, wildlife and waters. OW, along with other climate and forest activists, held a prior event this past weekend to send a message to Biden about a policy he enacted nearly seven months ago.
On Earth Day, the president issued an executive order to “strengthen” the nation’s forests, which the White House reports, “…are home to cherished expanses of mature and old-growth forests on Federal lands, is critical to the health, prosperity, and resilience of our communities — particularly in light of the threat of catastrophic wildfires.”
Despite this order, OW Communications Manager Arran Robertson says that many of these forests still aren’t being preserved.
“The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are continuing with commercial logging projects that will cut down the very forests that the president outlined in this executive order that he wants to protect,” he said.
Recently, climate and forest activists projected tweets and images on Portland’s World Trade Building that emphasized the significance of looking after public forests. This will also be a central point at the Northwest Rally for Our Forests & Climate on Thursday, Nov. 17.
With the United Nations Climate Change Conference coming up, Robertson says the U.S. has an opportunity to ‘step up’ when addressing fellow countries about their climate policies.
New England, Montana and Alaska are among the other states holding climate forest rallies. In Oregon specifically, activists will highlight logging projects that affect land in the Malheur National Forest, Evans Creek, Roseburg District and more.
It’s important to note that logging projects don’t solely result in less trees. They have the potential to harm both human and animal life. According to National Geographic, about 250 million people reside in the forest and savannah areas — and they’re dependent on these areas for their livelihoods.
Robertson explained logging projects’ additional impact on the environment, adding, “You’re messing up an ecosystem that could potentially store carbon. It’s better for wildlife. It’s better for protecting from things like drought and floods because the forest regulates water really, really well. So when the agencies sell these, and then loggers come in and take those big, older trees out, they are hurting the ability of that forest to deal with those issues.”
One Yamhill County Commissioner and Mark Gamba, Democratic nominee for Oregon House District 41 and current mayor of Milwaukie, will be speaking on these issues at the upcoming rally.
The rally starts at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Terry Schrunk Plaza, right across from the Forest Service Region 6 offices.