Target: Robert Mahon, Mayor of Avon, New Jersey
Goal: Prevent the use of timber from old-growth rainforests in the construction of a new boardwalk
The town of Avon, a small beach community in New Jersey, suffered infrastructural damage during Hurricane Sandy. City officials are now beginning efforts to rebuild their oceanside boardwalk. However, the city plans to use wood from over 700 acres of old-growth rainforests (twice the size of the entire town of Avon) to reconstruct the walkway.
These forests are part of a diverse ecosystem full of a wide variety of species, some of which are endangered. Moreover, deforestation of old-growth trees is a primary cause of global warming. These trees have, for centuries, taken in the earth’s carbon dioxide and released oxygen in its place. The current overabundance of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, a direct cause of global warming, is only increased by deforestation of the earth’s oldest trees. As one Sierra Club official astutely noted, global climate change causes the violent storms that have devastated coastal towns like Avon.
Many environmentally-conscious tourists plan to boycott the Jersey shore this summer if plans for the old-growth boardwalk don’t change. The Borough Commission has already awarded the community $1.5 million for the project, despite opposition. According to a Borough official, “The wood has been cut and shipped, and it’s sitting in a warehouse in North Carolina already, waiting for us.” However, halting the construction of an old-growth boardwalk is a message to leaders everywhere that citizens will not stand for the cutting of old-growth forests in the future. Activists succeeded in prevented the use of old-growth rainforest wood in the Ocean City, N.J. boardwalk in 2007. Ask the mayor of Avon to use domestic wood for rebuilding the boardwalk in his city.
Dear Mayor Mahon,
The city of Avon has been given $1.5 million to reconstruct its beachside boardwalk using old-growth wood from the rainforest. The decision to use this wood is paradoxical, since deforesting the rainforest is a direct cause of global warming, and global warming is a direct cause of violent ocean storms which destroy towns like Avon. Cutting the rainforest also harms the endangered species and indigenous people who live there.
This summer, environmentally-conscious tourists plan to boycott Avon’s shore if this old-growth boardwalk is built. Other cities on the Jersey shore, including Ocean City and Belmar, have already forgone plans to use wood from old-growth rainforests in their boardwalks, facing criticism from local citizens and environmental activists alike. Follow their lead and refuse to build a boardwalk using wood from old-growth rainforests.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: smurfun via flickr