Target: R. Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. Customs Commissioner
Goal: Prevent wood illegally logged in Africa from entering the U.S.
A loss of nearly 30 million acres of forest in East Africa is expected by 2030. A loss on this scale will severely impact the population of plants, animals, and humans who rely on them. Nearly 80% of the world’s plant and animal life relies on the forests of this region to survive. Trees in these same forests also help reduce the overall carbon level in the atmosphere.
Consumers in the U.S. don’t often realize where the wood in their new dining room table, sofa, or hardwood floors come from, but unless it’s been labeled with the Forest Stewardship Council label, there’s a good chance it’s been harvested illegally. The United States is the largest buyer of wood products and therefore has a moral and ethical responsibility to prohibit illegally logged wood from entering the market.
Tracking systems are needed to ensure wood such as ebony, rosewood, and blackwood are imported only from legally harvested sources. Enforcement of this tracking system needs to occur at each entry point and no illegally harvest wood should be accepted. Sign this petition to tell customs officials we don’t want illegally harvested wood in the United States.
Dear Commissioner Kerlikowske,
The consumers in the United States no longer wish to participate in the illegal deforestation of East Africa. The elephants, rhinos, and other fascinating species living in the area need their habitat protected and the planet needs the trees to help decrease atmospheric carbon levels contributing to global warming.
While the Forest Stewardship Council label is helpful for consumers, it does not prevent importation of illegally harvested woods like ebony, rosewood, and other wood native to the East Africa region. Frequently, consumers purchase a dining room table, wood floor, or similar products without knowing where the wood originated. Without a tracking system and enforcement, this will continue.
Legal harvesting already takes place, but there is currently no way to determine which wood is being imported. A tracking system needs to be implemented and enforced. As the largest importer and end-user of wood products from this region, the U.S. must take a stand to save this critical habitat from total destruction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: JG Collomb