NYC’s shameful practice hurts rainforest

York Restoration Corporation Rainforest Cut NYC

New York

New York City has been guilty of using durable rainforest timber in the creation of its benches and other wooden thises and thats. Bloomberg has “promised” to cut back, but really – what’s been done? We need to completely end using these woods in any city project. Completely. Any time there’s demand, even if we promise to “limit” it, someone will take an ax to an irreplaceable tree.

From the Times:

Like many other municipalities, New York City has used durable rain forest woods to build pieces of public infrastructure like benches and boardwalks. And although Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has publicly promised to limit the use of such materials, some organizations have decided that the city is not moving quickly enough.

On Monday, as the 40th Earth Day approached, two environmental organizations, Rainforest Relief and New York Climate Action Group, issued a short video (above) that called attention to the city’s use of the wood.

“The mayor’s plan is too little too late,” said Tim Doody, the New York City campaign coordinator for Rainforest Relief. “At the current rate of destruction, most of the worlds’ rain forests won’t be around by the time his plan takes effect.”

A spokesman for the mayor, Jason Post, wrote in an e-mail message Monday: “Two years ago the city eliminated the use of tropical hardwood in the construction and maintenance of park benches and began to test alternative materials for use in boardwalks, and reduced the use of the wood, to the greatest extent possible, in other applications.”

While addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2008, Mr. Bloomberg called tropical deforestation an “ecological calamity” and pledged to reduce the city’s use of tropical hardwood by 20 percent quickly, by eliminating the use of such woods in building and maintaining park benches, using alternative materials for boardwalks and reducing use of such hardwoods in other contexts.

The mayor also commissioned several agencies to develop a plan that would further cut (pdf) the city’s spending on tropical hardwoods by 60 percent by 2020.

The environmental organizations detailed a list of sites around the city that used tropical hardwoods, including benches in Washington Square Park, decking at the High Line, the Coney Island Boardwalk, the Brooklyn Bridge walkway and subway ties at Grand Central Terminal.

Get it done, Bloomberg. So frustrating to listen to promises, and even then, those promises amount to nothing more than an assurance that they’ll “try” to lessen their use of the wood. Unbelievable.

For as many times as he supposedly tries to help the world, there’s umpteen times where he fails to change his own backyard.

If we’re going to restore New York, we shouldn’t do so at the cost of the rainforest. So hair-pulling-ly frustrating.

This post brought to you by York Restoration Corporation


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