I am going to ask you to do something that no self-respecting writer should ever do. And that’s to momentarily take your eyes off these wonderfully crafted words and do a Google search. I am so sure of your loyalty that I know you’ll come back. See, you’re still reading! 

OK, here’s what I want you to do. Go to Google and use the search words “images of deforestation in the US” or alternatively “images of deforestation in Canada.’’ I guarantee that you will see something like this. 

Images of Deforestation in Canada

You’re still reading, aren’t you? You’ll find pages and pages of visual images of mostly clear-cut forest. Some very ugly scenes. Definitely not feel-good pictures. Now, before I have to send out a search party for you, come back here. Because what you have seen with your very own eyes is a very effective promotion of a big fat lie. The big fat lie that forestry is the major cause of deforestation in North America. 

Yes, they are images of trees that have been felled. And yes, they don’t look particularly nice. Neither do trees that have been devastated by insects or ravaged by fire. But it’s what you don’t see here that’s important. 

Because these are not necessarily images of deforestation. I kid you not. These are images of forest being cleared, yes.  But as has been pointed out elsewhere in this book, deforestation is far more than just forest being cleared. Deforestation includes the conversion of that forest land into non-forest uses such as agriculture, oil and gas projects, hydro reservoirs, and residential subdivisions. Deforested land is forest land that’s basically gone for good. It’s not coming back to forest.  

And the major cause of that deforestation in North America is not the forest industry, it’s the conversion of forest land to agriculture. So the images of deforestation that Google should be showing to depict deforestation in North America are images not of forest after it has been harvested (and before it’s regrown) but what deforestation truly is: a deforested field of farmer’s hay, gently waving corn, oil and gas exploration, a mining quarry, hydro-electric reservoirs, residential subdivisions, ski hills and golf courses. These are the real images, the real consequences of deforestation in North America. So why doesn’t Google show the images of what deforestation really means? 

I put the case to Google. This is how it replied:

Yes, a big fat nothing response! I will keep you updated if and when I hear something.

Excerpt from Little Green Lies and Other BS: From “Ancient” Forests to “Zero” Waste© by John Mullinder www.johnmullinder.ca

By the way, Canada’s deforestation rate is 0.01% (with conversion of forest land to agriculture being responsible for 45% of that).

Chart of major causes of deforestation in Canada