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Green Carpet

Jul 31, 2008
The environment has new champions: Hollywood stars who walked down a biodegradable green carpet with eco-activists at the first screening of The 11th Hour in Canada. The documentary, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio encourages political action to deal with environmental issues. Marlee Matlin was just one local star who sent a postcard to British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell urging him to save the province's temperate forests, home to the endangered mountain caribou at the premiere. Other activists followed suit.

A private screening was followed by an after-party with organic beer and finger food from all organic ingredients was served.

Tzeporah Berman, founder of the eco-group ForestEthics is one of 50 leaders and scientists who appears in the film. She chose to go the distance, wearing an eco-certified wood fibre called Tencel.

She said, "I kid you not. The top I am wearing is made from ecologically, responsibly harvested wood."

In a speech, she called for stiffer government action on carbon emissions, a halt to oil and gas subsidies and a new strategy with a goal of ending old-growth logging while protecting critical ecosystems.

DiCaprio, who was not at the screening, describes it as a movie not about doomsday, but about solutions.

The 11th Hour refers to the last moment when change is possible. The film makes notes of the issues facing the planet's life systems: global warming, deforestation, species extinction, and depletion of the ocean's habitats. The film also investigates how humanity impacts the earth's ecosystems and what can be done to change the decline.

The Canadian forest industry said the film draws attention to the importance of sustainable management of forests.

Andrew Casey, vice-president of communications for the Forest Products Association of Canada said, "Canada has a rate of zero, for the most part, in terms of deforestation. But there is significant deforestation in countries like Brazil and Indonesia that are emerging as strong forest products suppliers. Until you do something about global demand, that demand is going to have to be met by somewhere. And if you shut stuff down here, it's going to move to places where there is deforestation and that's a bigger worry in the context of climate change."

Berman addresses the state of the world's forests, insisting 70 countries no longer have enough intact forests to maintain biodiversity. In contrast, three countries - Canada, Russia and Brazil - have the most remaining intact forests where biodiversity can be protected.

Berman, who was at the film's Hollywood premiere earlier this month with DiCaprio promoted her drive to protect more forests in Canada with stars like Paris Hilton.

She said she welcomes the involvement of celebrities in her lifelong cause, adding, "I'd rather have my teenaged niece reading about Paris Hilton's concern for Canadian forests than reading about what she is wearing. Hollywood becoming interested in green issues is taking these issues to a whole new level."

"I don't think this has changed my role," she said of the film. "For over a decade I have done everything I can to raise awareness about the importance of Canada's forests and how quickly our old-growth forests are being logged.

"It has taken me to a lot of strange places, from blockades to the boardrooms of some of the largest corporations in the world and now to the red - I mean green - carpet."
About the Author
Lawrence Soriano [please visit Deforestation Watch.] Deforestation Watch was established to drive sustainability mainstream. Striving to be a center of green news, solutions and all things green, we also help corporations looking for green guidance.
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