The Dark Side of Reforestation Programs: Planting 7,000 Trees a Day in Brutal Conditions | | AlterNet

The Dark Side of Reforestation Programs: Planting 7,000 Trees a Day in Brutal Conditions | | AlterNet.


The Dark Side of Reforestation Programs: Planting 7,000 Trees a Day in Brutal Conditions

“78 Days,” a compelling documentary by Canadian filmmaker and former tree planter Jason Nardella,
Reforestation and tree planting is a tricky topic for many environmentalists. Every year, several billion trees are harvested for fuel, construction and paper products. While alternative products like hemp and bamboo can solve part of the problem, as can recycling paper products, curbing the effects of the behemoth logging industry takes time and resources. For ordinary people concerned about deforestation, it doesn’t take much to buy some carbon offset credits or a voucher to replace a tree or two. But it takes an extraordinary amount of resources to actually plant and nurture all those new trees. And behind the scenes of every good faith voucher purchase is a whole other industry focused on regrowth — not always with optimal results that actually reduce CO2 levels.

Some critics also argue that carbon offsets, or taking steps to neutralize our carbon footprint, can be ineffective or even harmful because they are only a short-term solution. Others contend that all carbon emissions are not created equal. Burning fossil fuels simply can’t be compared with biological tree carbon. All of this controversy doesn’t even take into account how carbon offset programs — let alone the simple demand for lumber — could potentially be fueling the grueling work conditions for tree planters.

78 Days, a compelling documentary by Canadian filmmaker and former tree planter Jason Nardella, reveals the dark side of reforestation labor. Nardella focused his lens on a 2008 tree planting crew in remote northern Alberta. Over the course of four short months, the small crew of mostly veteran hardworking planters was tasked with planting an astounding 10 million trees regardless of climate or injury. It wasn’t some sort of unusually intense planting season. On the contrary, these planters toil every summer planting season under such extreme conditions and deadlines.

It’s worth noting that the extreme conditions associated with the tree planting season are documented online if you go searching for planter diaries or warnings about the potential dangers of the job on tree planting job boards. What Nardella depicts isn’t atypical, especially in the remote upper regions of the Canadian wilderness. (Read Full Article)

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