In ‘green jobs’ discussion, don’t forget forest industry

There is much ado about something in D.C. regarding “green jobs.” It is certainly a term du jour, but, like many terms inside the Beltway, it means different things depending on whom you ask.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is stepping up to the challenge by defining a “green job.” Yet even the BLS acknowledges differences will exist in how green jobs are defined. Therefore, they will provide green jobs statistics broken down by industry so organizations can decide for themselves what is “green.”

Most Americans can agree to a point about what is “green,” and the forest products industry embodied these principles long before they became en vogue. The industry employs almost 900,000 men and women who make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources. These companies engage in practices such as sustainable forest management, fiber recovery and recycling, efficient manufacturing processes, energy generation and conservation to demonstrate its dedication to protecting our environment and meeting its economic and societal commitments.   

The bottom line is that America’s forests and forest products are green. America’s forests are sustainable and renewable. Despite increased forest product use, for the past 50 years we have consistently grown more timber than we harvest. In fact, increasing demand for forest products has resulted in a 49 percent increase in timber inventory during the last 50 years. Without a demand for forest products, many private forests would be developed or otherwise converted for other uses. Further, they provide “green” public benefits, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, wildlife habitat, open space, renewable and recyclable consumer products, climate-friendly energy and building materials, and more. 

In addition to these benefits to our environment, private forests and forest products are a fundamental part of the solution to two of the most pressing issues of our time: the need to address climate change and produce clean, domestic, renewable sources of energy.  According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, working forests generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit for climate change. Forests mitigate climate change by storing carbon in forests.  The bulk of the energy used to manufacture the products that come from these forests is carbon-neutral and renewable that displaces the use of fossil fuels.  In fact, the industry is the largest producer of renewable energy – generating more than all wind, solar, and geothermal combined.  Furthermore, these products continue to sequester carbon for the long-term to help mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.  

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy recognize that working forests can play a role in achieving energy independence by providing a renewable, domestic, carbon-neutral substitute for fossil fuels. 

America’s private forest owners, manufacturers, and the products they produce are green – they are renewable, sustainable, recyclable, and help solve some of our more pressing environmental concerns.  In fact, forest management and forest products were “green” long before the term was coined, and the jobs they create should be recognized as such.


Wikileaks docs confirm need to withdraw troops

From Danielle Greene

The Wikileaks’s documents confirm this war is immoral and unwinnable.

I believe I represent the majority sentiment in the United States that support the stance that all U.S. and foreign troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and that the war should be brought to an end, as soon as possible.

Falls Church, Va.

Letter actually illustrates more monitoring is good

From Al Sartor

In his July 21 letter, “CIA has always had agents stumbling over each other,” Wes Pedersen stated that even in 1950, the CIA had too many personnel in 37 different buildings in D.C. and has grown even larger.

Mr. Pedersen reports that, at the time, as an analyst at the State Department and later at USIA, he set up his “own monitoring system” due to large-scale inefficiencies. 

He said he alone had correctly predicted the death of Stalin and other important happenings. Predictions with which the CIA had disagreed.

It seems to me that Mr. Pedersen’s good-predictability outcome, from setting up an additional monitoring system, may, in fact, demonstrate the efficacy of more — rather then less — monitoring.

Walnut Creek, Calif.