Watch: Indiscriminate logging in Latvia is fueled by Britain's markets

Al Jazeera English takes a closer look at the forests in Latvia which are being cut down at an unsustainable rate in one of their recent episodes of People & Power.

"The Baltic nation of Latvia is blessed with some of the most beautiful forests in the world, millions of square kilometres of pristine woodland that support a complex biodiversity of rare species of animals and plants. [...] As the UK aims to become one of the greenest countries in Europe, we expose its role in the deforestation of Latvia."

The clear cutting, which is a total loss not only for biological diversity but also for social and economic reasons, is the result of the current economic crisis in Latvia. It is being fueled by the demand from overseas markets, particularly the UK which has been Latvia's main export market for over 300 years. Al Jazeera shows how corporations and the Latvian government ignores EU habitat directives, laws and nature reserves to be able to satisfy the market demand for timber. They also question the validation of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate which is said to only label timber that is sustainable produced.

"Many of the products of the trade from furniture to wood pulp and paper are sold in the UK under a labelling scheme run by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international NGO that certifies timber is being sustainably produced. Is that really true?"

This episode shows not just the world's ecological unequal exchange but also how unattainable sustainability is in today's capitalistic system which is based on a never-ending growth rate.


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Simon Leufstedt
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Guest Simon Leufstedt

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With quality investigative programmes like this one Al Jazeera really shows why it's the leading global news network today. I really do doubt that we would have seen a similar program on one of the American corporate news networks.

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