Letter to the editor: SFI is a lie!

Dear Editor, Recently there’s been a buzz in Burlington — especially UVM — about an organization called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. If you haven’t heard of them yet, your initial reaction will probably be along the lines of: “Well why is there a buzz about something that sounds so ecological friendly?” Well, you’re wrong! Because SFI is the furthest thing from friendly and ecological. SFI claims to be a not-for-profit organization that spews its beliefs on responsible environmental behavior. Now what exactly does that mean? They say they participate in the practice of sustainable forestry, as if we couldn’t tell by their name, on all the lands they manage.  If by managing they mean clear-cutting acres of beautiful, healthy forest to grind hundred-year-old oaks into paper, then, yes, they manage. But don’t worry! They take part in training loggers and foresters in management practices and landowner-outreach programs. Or, more briefly, they legally purchase land in different states before they pulverize the miles of green forest.   They recently held a conference in Burlington to make “informed choices”  in which more than 200 delegates attended where they will attempt to purchase large sums of Vermont land. Even more interesting is that the American Forest & Paper Association Company created SFI. AF&PA is a national trade association responsible for 80 percent of the U.S. pulp and paper industry, as well as providing wood for building material. No wonder Vermonters are so angry because SFI is planning on making a deal in Burlington to clear-cut sections of the state’s forests. Just this past week UVM students protested outside the Bailey Howe Library, carrying picket signs and yelling chants about the lie that off of which SFI has based their platform. Not only is a clear-cutting paper company claiming to support responsible forestry and intent on destroying our untouched and well-preserved land forest, but also they are also marketing a scheme! They are seeking out to profit for themselves by taking advantage of the green market. It’s ridiculous that the world has now come to a point where paper companies find the need to disguise their names under an oxymoron and mislead the public by presenting themselves as poster children for the environment. It is absurd if SFI plans on getting anywhere with their intention. I hope that students get the message across because they need to get out of Vermont! Sincerely, Peyton Rosenthal Class of 2015