Clear-cutting and logging have detrimental effects to redwood forests and the environment, impacting the local biodiversity and creating frequent mass erosion. Environmental advocacy groups use creative strategies for wilderness preservation.
In the past 20 years, 435,000 acres of California forests have been clear-cut, causing irreversible damage to California's coastal redwood region. Deforestation, or the permanent removal of forests, negatively impacts the health of the environment causing ocean runoff, flooding, greater levels of greenhouse gases, soil depletion, and habitat destruction. According to the National Park Service, the average age of the redwood tree is between 500-700 years old, with some living up to 2,000 years. Of the original old-growth coastal redwoods, 96 percent have been logged. Known as "super trees," the redwoods are unique in their size, beauty, and history, as well as home to many species.
In this film, "Farmer," an activist for Earth First! Humboldt risks injury and incarceration to live in the canopy of an ancient redwood tree. Earth First! Humboldt is an environmental advocacy group based in Northern California dedicated to preventing the clear-cutting and deforestation of redwoods by organizing tree-sits and roadblocks. In 2008, activists discovered a timber harvest plan that would have clear-cut 40 acres on the west side of the McKay Tract, a 7,500-acre forest near Eureka California known for the growth of unique redwood trees. Green Diamond Resource Company once owned the forest and the County of Humboldt proposed this area for residential development. The activist for Earth First! ultimately protects a rare redwood ecosystem, an important part of California's natural history. After four years into the tree sit, the Green Diamond Resource Company sold 1,800 acres of the McKay Tract to the trust for public land and the area now is a protected community forest.
Connections to National Standards
Connections to National Standards Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.5 and SL.11-12.5. Make use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understandings of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Civ.7.9-12. Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
Next Generation Science Standards. HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.