by Rick Spencer
On October 17, EarthCulture staged a die-in on the front steps of the main building of the worldıs largest furniture trade show which attracts 70,000 international furniture buyers. Nine activists dressed in black blocked the doors in a symbolic action to avenge the deaths of indigenous peoples at the hands of rainforest loggers.
The previous day at the market, protesters erected a 18 foot tall chair splattered with blood and draped with a banner reading, "Buying Rainforest Woods Kills Native Peoples." Blood drenched "business people" tried to sell the giant chair, and simultaneously, a U-Haul truck drove through the center of the market covered with banners.
Just six days before, EarthCulture hit the furniture industry's largest user of mahogany, and demanded Lexington Furniture Industries stop using all rainforest woods. A small team of activists entered the Lexington headquarters and delivered a black coffin telling them to "Bury those killed for rainforest woods," and proclaimed Lexington is an accomplice to murder. A meeting with the president is being arranged.
Mahogany is perhaps the worst example of catastrophic rainforest logging. People from at least eight Brazilian tribes have been murdered at the hands of pirate mahogany loggers in search of the rare tree. Logging operations in Guyana, Nicaragua, Belize, and throughout Latin America are threatening indigenous populations so that Americans can have luxurious mahogany furniture. The Brazilian government has just admitted 80 percent of all logging in the Amazon is illegal.
EarthCulture has been instrumental in revamping a boycott on all temperate and tropical rainforest woods except for rare certified sources. Some particular woods included in the boycott are: teak, ramin, redwood, mahogany, lauan, meranti, western red cedar, ebony, rosewood, and ipé.
"All over the planet, rainforests are being destroyed and their peoples killed, attacked, or displaced for American consumption," says protester Kevin Henderson. "A lot of this rainforest wood is ending up at North Carolina furniture manufacturers, making them accomplices in these crimes."
The fires currently raging in Indonesia are a tragic testament to American wood consumption. These fires were started in logging operations, and so far, nearly 300 people have died as a result. The main export wood from Indonesia is lauan (also known as meranti or Philippine mahogany) plywood, which is used in veneer, drawers and back ing in the furniture industry, as well as door skins, veneer, and in construction.
These actions were part of 25 rainforest wood actions EarthCulture is leading throughout the southeast in five weeks.
Rick Spencer, Programs Director
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