Denmark Considers Total Pesticide Ban
In response to calls from members of parliament to make the country totally
organic by 2010, the Danish government is initiating an assessment of the
impacts of a total pesticide ban in the country, reports the Pesticide
Action Network North America Update Service (Panups).
A government-convened committee of experts will study how a pesticide
phase-out would affect Denmark's economy, environment and health. The committee
will include representatives from government, the food and chemical industry,
labour and environment, consumer and health organisations.
(Source: Multinational Monitor, U.S.A., November 1997)
Largest Wind Farm In the Southern Hemisphere
Forty-eight 660-kW wind turbines will go online in New Zealand during the
next year. Each will have a large rotor 47 m in diameter. The wind farm
will be located on the more northern of New Zealand's two main islands,
in a hilly area known as the Tararua Ranges. The area is blessed with some
of the best wind conditions in the world; wind speeds at some locations
there can exceed 11 m/s. So, the park's annual electricity production is
expected to be almost twice as large as those of typical European sites.
The wind farm will be the largest in the southern hemisphere, with a capacity
equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of more than 25,000 households.
The project will cost US$ 25 million.
Vestas–Danish Wind Technology, the supplier of the turbines, believes
that this project could constitute a milestone in the development of wind
power, which thus far has been accused of only being viable with subsidies.
'The project proves that our new turbines are so effective that preferential
treatment of wind power may not be necessary where the wind conditions
are adequate. In this project, wind power competes on even terms with conventional
power production. The project is not subsidised by government funds,' says
Tom Petersen of Vestas.
Information: Vestas, Smed Hansens Vej 27, 6940 Lem, Denmark, Ph:
+45-97-341188, fax: +45-97-341484, http://www.vestas.dk
Logging Giant to Stop Clearcutting in Canadian Forests
In British Columbia, Greenpeace applauded logging giant MacMillan
Bloedel for showing leadership and vision by announcing a forest programme
that will change the face of the forest industry in Canada. The announcement
marks the first time an industry leader has acknowledged that clearcutting
is no longer acceptable and that there is a drastic need to increase the
conservation of old growth forests.
"This announcement is a vindication of what Greenpeace and other environmentalists
have been saying for years," said Karen Mahon, Greenpeace forests campaigner.
"There will still be lots of work to do but today marks the dawn of a new
"MacMillan Bloedel's announcement is a challenge to the rest of the
logging industry to pull their heads out of the sand and meet or beat this
new initiative," said Tzeporah Berman of Greenpeace. "This is the first
step towards ensuring that British Columbia may be to able to meet international
market demands and provide ecologically responsible forest products in
MacMillan Bloedel stated that they will phase out clearcutting in British
Columbia. However there are still outstanding concerns among environmentalists
regarding some issues. These are, among others, the final phasing out of
clearcutting and the potential problems of selective logging. Greenpeace
has pledged to work with the company to ensure that the new logging practices
maintain the integrity of the existing forests and that clearcutting is
finally phased out.
Furthermore, MacMillan Bloedel has not yet committed to leaving the
remaining pristine rainforest valleys intact. Greenpeace says it will continue
its campaign for the protection of the remaining pristine rainforest valleys
on Canada's west coast. Of the original 353 primary rainforest watersheds
only 69 remain intact.
For further information contact: Karen Mahon or Alison Turner, Greenpeace
Canada, +1-604-253 7701, mobile +1-604- 313 0159 Tzeporah Berman, Greenpeace
International mobile +1-604-3292991 Christoph Thies + 31-20-5236 278, mobile
+ 31-6-535 04 721
NGOs Unite to Help Venezuela's Indigenous Peoples Protect their Forests
Much of the South American country of Venezuela is swathed in pristine
tropical rainforest. The Imataca Forest Reserve in the northeast of the
country—a vast and beautiful area of forest the size of the Netherlands—is
home to five Indian tribes and a huge variety of wildlife. Imataca has
been a protected reserve for over 30 years in recognition of its environmental
But a new law, Presidential Decree 1850, issued by the Venezuelan government
in May of last year, is set to allow a massive extension of gold and diamond
mining in over almost half of the reserve. The government hopes that this
will allow them to repay substantial parts of their large national debt.
The Venezuelan government decided to divide most of the reserve up between
mining and logging corporations. Despite the protected status of the forest,
and ignoring a number of national laws and international treaties, almost
40% of Imataca has now been listed for mining, and just 4% of the reserve
is completely protected.
Nationwide protests by Venezuelan indigenous groups, environmentalists,
social groups and many others led to Venezuela's Supreme Court suspending
Decree 1850 at the end of last year, while it investigated claims the Decree
was illegal. The Court's judgment is expected soon.
The international NGO network EarthAction is working with environmental,
social and indigenous groups in Venezuela to ensure that Imataca is not
EarthAction's international campaign is designed to put pressure on
the Venezuelan government to repeal Decree 1850 and fully protect Imataca.
A spokesperson for EarthAction said: "If loggers and miners are allowed
free rein in this supposedly protected area, it will set a disastrous precedent
for the rest of the country's forests. People all over Venezuela are dismayed
at the government's actions. We are responding to their calls for international
For further details, contact: Julio Cesar Centeno, PhD,
Merida, Venezuela, Tel/fax: +58 74 714 576, Email: JCenteno@telcel.net.ve
Mahogany is Murder
The UK is the second largest importer of Brazilian mahogany in the world.
But the environmental and social price for obtaining this beautiful wood
is higher than you might think. The felling of mahogany is one of the most
destructive activities in the rainforest: for every mahogany tree extracted,
26 other trees will be damaged.
It is estimated that there are only 35 years worth of legal mahogany
stocks left. Desperate to find more mahogany, logging companies are moving
into Indian reserves where they illegally fell the timber and inflict a
horrifying catalogue of abuse and violence on the indigenous people, including
intimidation, bribery and even murder.
To help stop this situation, one group, Friends of the Earth (FOE),
launched the "Mahogany is Murder Campaign" in 1992. This campaign calls
for a complete ban on imports of Brazilian mahogany to the UK. FOE is also
asking the European Union to ban mahogany imports. The campaign has highlighted
the terrible costs of the mahogany trade and has more recently featured
a leaflet and cinema advertisement.
Unfortunately, the trade body for the timber industry in the UK (the
Timber Trade Federation) and the Brazilian government complained to the
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about this campaign and the ASA has
ruled against FOE's advertisements.
As a result of the ASA's ruling, Friends of the Earth cannot show the
cinema advertisement any more or distribute the leaflet via newspapers
and magazines. However, they intend to fight the ASA's ruling and force
them to retract. FOE stands by their statement that the mahogany trade
in Brazil is destroying the environment and devastating people's lives.
For more information contact: Friends of the Earth International
Secretariat: P.O. Box 19199 1000 GD Amsterdam The Netherlands Tel.: +31-20-6221369
Fax: -6392181 E-mail: email@example.com
This article was published in New Renaissance magazine Vol.
8, No. 2
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