Open Letter: Anti-Lookout Logging Activist Responds to Online Critics



Editor's note: Jennifer Blair spoke at the Dade County Commission's Nov. 1 meeting to ask the commissioners' help against the wide-scale logging by out-of-town owners that is changing the face of Lookout Mountain. She then wrote an open letter in The Planet to ask for help from the citizens at large. This is a follow-up letter.


A number of reactions have been posted on the Dade Planet Facebook page regarding my recent Open Letter. (Click the photo at left, taken yesterday at the horseshoe bend on 136, to go to that letter.) I appreciate this news outlet allowing me the opportunity to respond to a few of the arguments that have been proposed against my position. Portions of these comments are re-printed below in italics.

  • “I like paper and furniture in my home. Could not have any of those things without lumber.”

Wrong. There are abundant, sustainable alternatives to these materials aside from trees; bamboo and hemp for example, are faster growing and can be transformed into a spectrum of products including, but not limited to: construction supplies, flooring, furniture, paper, rope, and fabric.

  • "In time you never knew it was done.”

Wrong. Such comments are never made by (even amateur, much less expert) botanists, herbalists, arborists, or scientists. Such comments are made by those who mistake quantity for quality. People who presume that a landbase can and will recover in a matter of years or even decades have no concept of the complexity and diversity of ecosystems.

  • “Look to California and the wildfires. That’s what happens when you never log.”

Wrong. To say that clearcutting prevents wildfires is a reductive oversimplification that does not account for context. In fact, maintaining healthy forests is considered a preventative approach to addressing natural catastrophes. Through the conservation and cultivation of woodlands, we can increase resilience against conditions which lead to fire and other disasters.

  • “We have to be realistic about logging.”

Fine. Yes, let’s. At a certain point we have to stop. We can do so because we self impose restrictions, or we can do so because we run out of forests. I am an advocate for the former. Contrary to the perpetual-growth paradigm and a false belief in infinite resources, the planet is demonstrating globally that it will not support the greed of human beings. To indiscriminately proclaim a person’s right to do what they will with what they have is to ignore the bigger picture, the collective, and the most pressing contemporary crises.

As I have already stated, I am not opposed to anyone making a living off of the land, but there are other ways of doing so that do not include despoiling other people’s quality of life and livelihood. Human beings could work and exist together without ruining the planet on which we find ourselves. I hope someday we will.

--Jennifer Blair


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