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_Kechups Tired of getting junk mail? http://t.co/YkRjzEeEBB via @9GAG

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gjpaterson @richardbranson Do me a favour, get Virgin Media to stop bombarding me with crap junk mail, I don't want your fucking broadband

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xoMyStateOfMind RT @9GAGTweets: Tired of getting junk mail? - http://t.co/CmhNKLlPg8

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r3ggo111 Just got a junk mail letter from the post office. Printed on grease proof paper. Rightooo

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angelorichiello Three-quarters of all e-mail is junk, and we’re wasting lots of time dealing with less important messages, says @Barry_Gill.

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griffinkate RT @StripeyCaptain: @emilyevelina @griffinkate Otherwise @nextofficial will be forced to send your junk mail to "Theo ccupier", like @virgi…

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_HughBris Mother-in-law gave kids' names/info to National Geographic mag sub & then kids start getting "age appropriate" junk mail. You stink Nat Geo.

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1 minute ago on Twitter
Junk Mail and Southern Forests – A Recipe for Destruction

Each week, Unjunk Mail invites an expert to help educate us about the junk mail issue.  Guest authors include environmentalists, privacy pros, and direct marketing gurus.  This week, Scot Quaranda from Dogwood Alliance is with us.

dogwoodjpg We often conjure an image in our mind of the iconic forests being the great redwoods of the Pacific Northwest or the lush tropical rainforests of the Amazon, but how often do we take a moment to ponder the forests of the Southern US?

From the cypress swamps, pine bogs and pocosins of the Middle Atlantic and Gulf coasts to the mixed pine-oak and hardwood forests of the Piedmont and Cumberland Plateau to the rich and diverse landscapes of the Appalachians and Ozarks, Southern forests are places of amazing natural beauty. Our forests are home to more plants and wildlife than any other region in North America and in the case of freshwater aquatic diversity, more than anywhere else in the world.

Southern forests provide an amazing array of resources that are integral to both our quality of life and are an essential part of our cultural heritage. Millions of people in the South rely on clean drinking water from our forested watersheds. We all rely on clean and healthy air to breathe. Our forests act as important air filters and also play a very important role in moderating climate and preventing flooding.

So why is it that we continue to destroy and degrade these forests, rather than cherish and restore them?  The Southern US is the largest paper producing region in the world, producing approximately 20% of the world’s paper. Packaging is the number one paper product produced in the region, but high on the list are two essential components of junk mail – copy paper and envelopes.  So not only are our forests being destroyed to make paper packaging that is used once and thrown away, they are being trashed for millions of tons of unwanted and unread junk mail every year.

Here are two examples that are worth noting the next time you open your mailbox and pull out a stack of junk mail:

First look at that envelope, there is a good chance that it is a credit card offer or life insurance deal that originated in our Southern forests. Perhaps it came from Franklin, Virginia at the International Paper mill.  Franklin is a short distance from the Great Dismal Swamp – one of our coastal treasures home to unique turtles, one of the few remaining refuges for endangered forest communities like the Atlantic White Cedar, and a hot spot for over 200 migratory bird species including 96 which nest there.  It is also a cultural treasure, a place where many runaway slaves found respite and cover in their incredible journey to freedom in the North.

Next, let’s take a closer look at that piece of paper inside that you will probably never read.  There is a good chance that it also originated in the southern U.S. Maybe it came from the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee or Northern Alabama. National and state authorities have recognized the plateau serves as the South’s most ecologically diverse region and it has also been designated a U.S. BioGem by the Nature Conservancy and NRDC for this very reason.  The Cumberland Plateau region hosts the richest concentration of salamanders, including the endangered green salamander, of any temperate zone in the world.  Additionally, each spring, millions of birds migrating northward from South America or the Caribbean descend on the forests of the Cumberland Plateau before pushing on to Canada’s boreal forest.

So next time you receive junk mail, take a moment to consider the nearly 100 million trees that are cut down every year to produce all of the junk mail in the US and what that means for Southern forests and wildlife.  We know our lives would be simpler without junk mail and it seems pretty clear the environment would be in better shape too!

For more information on Southern forests and the work of the Dogwood Alliance, an organization working to end the destructive practices that paper industry has on those forests, visit: www.dogwoodalliance.org.

About the Author:
Scot Quaranda is the Campaign Director at Dogwood Alliance, the only organization holding corporations accountable for their forestry practices in the Southern US.  For more information, visit: www.dogwoodalliance.org

One Response to “Junk Mail and Southern Forests – A Recipe for Destruction”
  1. [...] Junk Mail and Southern Forests – A Recipe for Destruction « Unjunk … [...]

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