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North American Wilderness Campaigns
Wetlands Takes Action Against The Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic To Stop Redwood Forest Destruction!
On January 30, activists from Wetlands and the Student Environmental Action Coaliton held a demonstration at the Gap store on West 4th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan's West Village.
About 25 protesters, chanted, spoke out, drummed, held signs and banners, collected petition signatures,handed out leaflets and danced from Noon until 4PM. Numerous customers expressed their shock and outrage and vowed to join the Gap boycott. One family was so incensed upon learning the facts about Fisher Family forest destruction that a father sent his young daughter to retrieve his wife from the Gap store. When she learned of the Gap's atrocities, she joined her husband and daughter in outrage, and committed to not shopping at the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy until Mendocino Redwood Company's destructive practices come to a halt.
The protesters collected over 500 petition signatures and were covered by Fox 5 News which explained the boycott on Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic stores, the Gap's owners redwood destruction, and showed protesters chanting "Redwood Trees, not corporate greed! Don't shop at the Gap!"
Since then, Wetlands activists been relentless in letting the public know the facts about Fisher family logging, organizing demonstrations, leafletings, blockades, banner drops, marches, at Gap stores . We also leafleted thousands of potential customers at the Banana Republic sponsored film festival in Bryant Park all summer long.
To publicize this issue Wetlands organized the east coast leg of the Plight of the Redwoods Speaking Tour, hosted by Northern California forest defender Redwood Mary. Mary speaks of the redwood struggle from personal experience, shows films documenting the forest destruction and the activists' commitment. Using a speaker phone, Mary features very special guests speakers: tree-sitters who address the redwoods struggles via cell phone while perched hundreds of feet off the ground! Speakers have included Nate Madsen and the world-famous Julia Butterfly.
please remove Gap's Bob Fisher - a redwood forest destroyer - - from
Bob Fisher, of the eleven billion dollar Fisher family (owners of the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy), is one of the investors in the Gap-financed redwood-logging firm, the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC), and sits on NRDC's Board of Trustees. This conflict of interest is made obvious by NRDC's greenwash of Bob Fisher as "a leader in our efforts to protect the environment. He has a strong commitment to forest conservation, and has been extremely valuable to NRDC in that area."
Yet another conflict of interest is NRDC's assistance in the establishment of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC defines guidelines by which timber companies are privately certified as sustainable. The Gap's logging company, MRC, is now pursuing a "green label" with NRDC's help - essentially, a public relations strategy.
In their official
position paper on MRC, NRDC completely fails to address MRC's 140 logging
plans. Half of these plans contain clearcutting that could be a death
sentence for the already endangered marbled murrelet, spotted owl, coho
salmon, and steelhead trout inhabiting MRC's 230,000 acres. Rainforest
Action Network and numerous other environmental organizations, expert
testimony, and thousands of individuals, condemn the plans and recommend
no cut. NRDC even directs the inquiries of individuals concerned about
MRC's logging to MRC's own website, instead of to environmental organizations
concentrating on the campaign.
NEW YORK CITY- Two environmental and labor activists - including one from California - blockaded the doors of the Gap store at 34th Street and 6th Avenue on Sunday, June 13th to protest the corporation's involvement in redwood destruction and sweatshop practices. Activists JK Canepa and Redwood Mary locked to the doors of the Gap store in an act of civil disobedience to say, "No more business as usual until the Gap puts people and the environment before profit." Both were arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, and released, but 25 demonstrators continued to protest until 5:30 PM.
The multi-billionaire Fisher family, founders of the Gap Inc. clothing empire (which includes Old Navy and Banana Republic), are clearcutting some of the last 3% of the old growth redwoods left in this country, which are the only ones in the world.
Gap profits financed the founding of Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC), which purchased 235,000 acres of redwood lands in Mendocino County, CA last summer. MRC's clearcutting and use of the toxic herbicide garlon are pushing the endangered Coho salmon to extinction, and jeopardizing other species, as well as local residents.
"As consumers, we give our dollars to corporations such as the Gap…and Home Depot, the largest retailer of rainforest wood in the world…in exchange for their goods. Those dollars are then used to invest in the destruction of our old-growth forests," states Redwood Mary. An activist from California, Redwood Mary is the working partner of Julia Butterfly, who has been living 200 feet up in a redwood for over a year and a half.
The Gap is also operating sweatshops on the South Pacific island of Saipan. The corporation is one of several being sued for using indentured labor (predominantly young women from Asia) to produce clothing. These immigrant workers must sign contracts that deny them their basic human rights, pay exorbitant recruitment fees that keep them in a state of indentured servitude; work up to 12 hours per day, seven days a week, and live in over crowded housing in unsanitary conditions.
The Fisher family has clearly used their profits to purchase and set up a logging company that has proven not to practice sustainable logging. Their logging plans on public record show that they are out to further degrade already over cut forest lands-further pushing the Coho Salmon to extinction.
The Fisher Family needs to be convinced that their contributing to the irreversible ecological breakdown of forest ecosystems is not acceptable. The Fisher Family has the power to stop the damage being done and the financial means to invest in forest restoration.
There is a connection between their exploitation of labor and exploitation of eco-systems--and we the consumer who fuel their profits and wealth need to tell The Fisher Family that we do not support human rights labor violations, the spraying of poisonous herbicides, or further destruction of the last redwood forest eco-systems on this planet. This is irresponsible and a crime against humanity.
It is a shame that the Fisher Family and their corporation have the potential and power to do such good yet instead choose to cause such harm. Do not believe what they are saying about being good stewards of the natural and worker environment. Actions speak louder than words, and they are logging in areas already in critical condition and selling clothes made by workers who are forced to work in horrible conditions for very little money. We are all responsible for protecting and respecting each other and our shared environment, so we are calling upon consumers to take their money back from this family until they begin treating people and the environment with a true respect all life deserves.
The message today to the Fisher Family is:
Please look into your hearts and take actions to protect life and invest in the long term restoration of our last redwood forests ecosytems...please look into your hearts and immediately make human & labor rights the priority-- not profits. Everything we do has impact. You have an opportunity to become a corporate model for the world-a corporation that truly takes a stand for life, a stand against suffering-- and not a corporate empire that just talks about it .
Plight of the Redwood Tour and Julia Butterfly and Redwood Mary Links:
Friday, September 17, 1999 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of environmental activist David Gypsy Chain, who was killed by a redwood logger in California, while attempting to stop illegal logging. Neither the logger, nor the logging company (Maxxam/Pacific Lumber), were brought to justice.
A revisit to the circumstance surrounding the tragedy proves yet again that corporations, often in collusion with law enforcement agencies, not only lie, cheat, and steal (with minimal, if any, sanctions), but literally get away with murder in their pursuit of profits.
Although Maxxam/Pacific Lumber initially claimed that their loggers were unaware of the activists' presence, a video recording produced at the time revealed that to be a lie. Death threats and raging obscenities were directed by logger A.E. Ammons against the activists present (who were attempting to talk him out of logging), including David Chain. Ammons then felled a redwood which crushed David Chain to death.
The CA Dept. of Forestry, which had promised an investigation that day, belatedly arrived on the scene the day after, and finally issued two citations to Maxxam/Pacific Lumber for operating within a marbled murrelet (endangered seabird) buffer zone and before the official end of its nesting season. It has been pointed out that David Chain died doing the CA Dept. of Forestry's job.
Incredibly, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept. and D.A. proposed charging the other activists at the scene of the crime, David's friends and colleagues.
Other, usually uninvestigated, instances of violence perpetrated against non-violent Earth First! activists - often by loggers hired by the logging company - include: cutting tree-sit safety lines cut by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber climbers; cutting trees both with activists in them, as well as in the direction of tree-sitters; bringing out actual snipers and threatening to shoot people; driving a logging truck into a crowd; and assaulting people (results including broken nose and fingers). The tolerance of such violent tactics has contributed to the escalation which culminated in David Chain's death. It also shows the double standard upheld by authorities who often describe non-violent Earth First! activists as "eco-terrorists," while ignoring actual acts of violence committed by others, often corporate-hired loggers.
More info on
the fight to defend Humbolt County Redwood forests:
In conjunction with regional, local, and national environmental groups around the country, Wetlands fights to have our continents' wildlands and wildlife protected in the halls of Congress and within the regulatory process through lobbying, generating letters and comments to newspapers, regulatory agencies and elected officials public education and outreach, support for pro-environment politicians and elected officials, public criticism of anti-environment politicians and elected officials, demonstrations, street theater and nonviolent civil disobedience.