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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Ecological Internet: Radical, Green, and Wired

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, logging, forests, international, activism, grass roots, technology, greenwashing, Ecological Internet, Mongabay,

Glen BarryEcological Internet is the most radical green group you’ve never heard of, and for years it has been achieving “major successes … below the radar of big conservation groups and mainstream media,” writes Jeremy Hance on the rainforest conservation site Mongabay. The organization harnesses the power of the Internet to run online campaigns that have hindered or stopped unsustainable and/or illegal logging in the South Pacific, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea, and it also provides IT services to other groups for “global grassroots advocacy.”

Ecological Internet leader Glen Barry and his group earn their “radical” tag in part because of their unsparing criticism of greenwashing in wood certification programs, especially the widely used Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label, and of the green groups who support FSC, such as Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. Ecological Internet estimates that 60 percent of FSC-certified products come from primary forests, the most ancient and biological diverse type of rainforest. “The FSC, for its part, has not released data related to this issue,” writes Hance.

Barry tells Mongabay:

Mainstream environmental groups like the World Wildlife Foundation, Greenpeace, and the Rainforest Action Network “embraced” the Forest Stewardship Council in the early 1990s, says Barry, “and then the sort of dirty secret that no one would ever talk about is that FSC is primary forest logging. We challenge Rainforest Action Network, we challenge Greenpeace, to sit down and have a debate on this.”

Barry says Ecological Internet takes a “deep ecology, or biocentric approach” and describes what drives the group:

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention in this forum that Barry says he was the first blogger. Take it from him:

Sources: Mongabay, Ecological Internet

Image courtesy of Ecological Internet.