Actress and WWF ambassador Miranda Richardson talks about how people power has come together to help protect the world’s forests.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of the butterfly effect, where a small change in one place in a complex system can result in large impacts elsewhere. It sprang to my mind when I heard about the success of WWF’s campaign asking councils to make a sustainable timber pledge. Following emails from WWF-UK supporters, nearly 100 councils have signed up – which is about a quarter of all councils in the UK!
My contribution – writing to my local council asking them to commit to only using sustainable timber – felt like just a little flutter of wings. After all, how could my one voice make much of a difference?
But a year down the line, with many thousands of others adding their voices, we’ve achieved these amazing results.
I’d started out a bit unsure why the focus was on councils. But it became much clearer when I heard that the public sector uses about a quarter of all timber products bought in the UK. That’s a lot of wood. The simple commitment to buy sustainably sourced timber inevitably takes pressure off the world’s forests – especially those where illegal logging is rife. Forests like those in the Heart of Borneo, home to orang-utans, and the Congo basin, with its lowland gorillas.
I’ve been lucky enough to champion the cause of endangered wildlife – I helped WWF speak out for Asian elephants in ITV’s Extinct series a few years ago. Every time I have a close encounter with anything to do with the natural world, it makes me keen to do more. So I was glad to be able to support a really effective campaign like this – encouraging councils to take a stand, and making a difference for forests and wildlife.
So, a huge thank you – from me, and from WWF’s forest team – to everyone who took the time and effort to flutter their wings. Together, we started a chain reaction that will help to protect forests.
WWF will continue to support the councils that have made the pledge – and to protect the world’s forests. You can continue to do your bit by choosing to only buy wood and paper products that have the FSC logo – it’s a sign that it’s come from a sustainable source.”