It’s been an eventful few days since I’ve been officially involved here at Save Our Woods. Support has rocketed, the media is latching onto this growing story and people’s unease at these proposals grows. What a great time to get on board.
I’ll let you into a secret: Like many, I’ve never protested about anything in my life. I’ve carried on in my own bubble and let ‘them’ get on with it. This time it’s different for two reasons. Firstly, this is an issue that’s very dear to my heart – for a long time I’ve loved our nation’s woodlands and forests and love teaching others about them. Secondly, I fail to understand how little respect is shown to this fantastic and increasingly rare resource by turning it into just another commodity.
Our forests are so much more than this. They are one of the keys to our future and essential to our environmental aims. This same key opens a door to the past. Until we can be absolutely certain without any doubt that the access enjoyed by us and our fathers before us will be available to our children and their children, we must protest.
By now many of you will have judged me to be some sort of tree hugging hippy. This may or may not be true – I’ll leave you to decide. Whatever your opinion, I know from my own experience the importance of forests. Their positive effect on our health and well being. Their place in educating a new generation that will have a desperate need for environmental awareness. Their silent work combating our carbon dioxide emissions. The list could go on.
Any forestry disposal has such enormous potential impact that we can’t afford this to come down to ideology. The question we should be asking is: “Is it right?” Until we can be sure that ecology, the environment, the nation’s health and our unique access to much of the Forestry Commission’s land are securely safeguarded then it just isn’t right.
The government on its own is in no position to answer this question. If government really wants “Big Society” to take responsibility, it needs to start listening to society. It may be uncomfortable for them but to have any chance of overcoming the environmental issues that face us all, the government must listen to some new voices. The old one’s don’t seem to be saying the right thing.