How Do I Know This Is Legal?
How do I know if this logging is legal or not?
Currently I am privileged to live within a stone’s throw of a forest. If you’ve watched my video you will see forests and mountains all around. I take morning walks through he forest to clear my head, heal my soul and give me inspiration.
But then I come to a site like this.
Side note on local policy
Mini-disclaimer: Before I continue, I want to say that I am not trying to “have a go” at Slovakia, it is just I live here, I see what's happening around me and speak with residents that have lived here far longer than I have. I’d love to know how other people feel here in Slovakia, as well as other countries.
I have to say, though, as I look out of my window I see rows of houses belching yellow and white smoke from their chimneys. As I look at this, I am reading an article about how the UK is phasing out gas boilers for heat pumps, and I can’t help but think there is some serious policy-catchup to be made here.
I’m not going to get political on this topic (well not just yet) but ... Slovakia, let’s talk about Climate Change and Air Pollution when you have a moment. It is a rather pressing matter.
Now back to logging…
Legitimate Logging (?)
I’ve checked a numbers resources, and the logging business around here all appears to be legit.
For example, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) publishes its forestry data online, so it’s easy to dive in and check the status of forests around the world.
The chart below is from the Global Forest Resource Assessment, and it paints a picture of stability and good management. However, I smell smoke (metaphorically and literally) - it seems too stable to be true, doesn’t it? As you dig further into it, there’s other things that just feel odd.
The chart below is just one line of the SDG 15 indicators report, it shows stability since 2017. The sub indicators also all show the same stability since 2017.
When I speak with local residents about this, they scoff at the idea that all of this is legitimate logging. With decades of institutional distrust coursing through their blood, there is a big gap between what the high level reports claim and what is believed.
So my thought is, how do we close this gap?
Closing the gap between what is reported and what is believed is going to help uncover and manage discrepancies. If there are none, then that’s equally important to uncover too, and can help potentially begin to repair any broken trust.
So how could we do it? Well, I have some ideas and I am open to discuss these or hear about how other countries are tackling this.
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Help Fight Illegal Logging
There are a few main components that will be needed to get this off the ground.
First, we’re going to need a database of all the logging companies and their projects. This shouldn’t be difficult because it must already exists in order to create the data that feeds into the UN FAO reports. Right?
Second, we are going to need a way to engage citizens.
This might be a bit trickier, but we can leverage existing concepts to crowd-source this. Our solutions could range from the complicated to the very simple. The minimum entry level we should look for is a smartphone.
Lastly, we’ll need a (local) policymaker support. Yikes, that could be challenging, but we can still do things without that, and hopefully our hypothetical solution will help drive that shift.
So here’s the system I envision.
Of course, if something like this exists, please let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to collaborate on a project like this, get in touch, because there's a lot more thinking behind my simplified sketch.
Hypothetical App/Service Idea
Tell me what you think