For once something printed digitally might be worse to trees than if it was printed on paper.
When Mark Dunphy titled his article “Tropical Forests Could Upset Global Carbon Balance,” he might not have known the article would have spread high and far enough to be read on google news by a relatively powerless environmentalist like me, nor the many parasitic minds out there waiting for ammo to target rainforests.
I could presume the author works for the resource extraction industry, or he could be an idiot, or he could be both. He is presumably Irish, which if he cares about his homeland does align him against anything that could make global temperatures go up thus adversely affecting the Isle… even if they are trees! But I don’t think he has anything sinister in mind with this article, just a general desire to summarize and harmonize with the latest findings in the scientific community. He just didn’t have the big picture in mind before doing his weekly post and collecting his commission. In fact, especially after perusing some of his other articles, I think he is probably very sensitive to the needs of earth’s ecological systems and doesn’t have any ill intent towards them.
However, he should realize that fresh off of Texas’s hottest July ever, his article sounds decidedly like a fortunate spin in favor of the resource-sucking-corporations: “We can finally cut down rainforests, and be seen as saviors fighting global warming to boot!” He is linking unapologetic beings that love taking things out of context to fit their own purposes, with an honest and falsifiable study that is completely about confining to context (it gets in to the details of tropical vegitation versus vegitation at different latitudes).
We cannot afford to enemy-tize trees, because the simplistic ideologues who cling to bad arguments can be manipulated by the clever corporate marketeers to actually believe that a problem will be solved if tropical forests are destroyed. You must understand: for their worldviews to function these people need enemies, and Rick Perry would not allow corporations to fit this term, no no no, they are rich individuals, actual people as Mitt Romney tried to argue, and rich people are never the enemies.
Trees, however, are big problems. They get in the way of natural gas drilling, they provide a safe haven to Robin Hood and his merry men, and now there is a study that says they can (DO) cause global warming… ahem, “climate change” (but maybe we can start calling it global warming again if the cost benefit analysis weighs in favor).
Of course the many nuances about how rain forests are still a hundred thousand times more valuable to human existence alive, rather than destroyed, are forgotten. Besides, biodiversity sounds like a race issue.
Indeed, none of this matters as hyper greedy corporations fancifully interpret this as a justification to begin deforesting tropical forests. The words stop mattering once action has destroyed what they were discussing.
SO, journalists, don’t let articles like this do to forests what Jaws did to the shark population. Sometimes, the best way to be a progressive journalist is to stick to reading and keep away from the keyboard.