Sunday, 23 January 2011
In The International Year Of The Forest - Help Save OURS
In the International Year of The Forest -tagline: "Celebrating Forests For People", the coalition government wants to sell off ALL of our publicly owned forest to the highest bidder.
In October last year I pledged to join the campaign against this proposed wholesale sell-off of OUR forests in England, currently run by The Forestry Commission.
Until now I have been unable to make good on my pledge due to being poorly. Unlike the Liberal Democrats and their travesty over university fees, I don't intend to break it, so now I am feeling better I have spent a couple of hours this morning getting up to speed with what has been happening.
The campaign is to save our forests is hotting up now as the consutation process begins in February. The 38degrees petition is now at a whopping 172,000 signatures and on Twitter people are trying to see how fast they can get it to 180,000 signatures. If you have yet to sign it you can do so here.
There are now a few excellent campaign web sites where you can see where your nearest forest is up for sale, not IF as they are ALL going to be sold. You can also see which MP to write to, and you can do that here.
The Sunday Telegraph's front page leads with a letter from leading figures and celebrities backing the campaign to save our forests.
You can also write to your MP and ask them to support Caroline Lucas’ Early Day Motion to amend the Public Bodies Bill removing the threat of sale to forests.
The nearest forest to me is about an hour's drive away, Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire. I went there on a rainy sunday, way back in November last year, when I knew the forests were under threat.
I took my 18-year-old niece and my 3-year-old son and despite the cold, wet day we had a great time, tramping through the woods. It is not completely free now because unless you were to cycle, impossible in my case, you have to use the pay and display car park. However it was worth it- great play areas, a cycle-hire and lots of activity packs and information. The forest is used for all kinds of activities from mums and babies groups to education for kids and is a great asset to the local and wider community for theses reasons as well as the obvious.
I will be going back in the spring with Sam, who ran around shouting "this is a magic place" and before if campaigning for its survival deems it necessary which I am sure it will.
I have found myself tweeting and retweeting and sharing endless links about the cutbacks on Facebook, feeling politically impotent. But we are not- now is the time to get active- and fight back constructively and creatively.
From Roger Deakin's book Wildwood:
" When Auden wrote, 'A culture is no better than its woods', he knew that, having carelessly lost more of their woods than any other country in Europe, the British generally take a correspondingly greater interest in what trees and woods they still have left."
Damned right we do....