My name is Khalia, I have been working with Greenpeace Russia for more than three years to try and make our planet a better place.
I love The Great Northern Forest for its wild beauty, for the inspiration it offers to anyone who needs it, and for its inestimable role in our lives. It is simply not possible for us to live without untouched forests because they help us fight climate change, and provide a home for millions of species of plants and animals; from simple mosses and mushrooms to giant bears.
It's a wonderful kind of paradise, isn't it?
Virgin Forest Area in Arkhangelsk Region in Russia, 8 Sep, 2016. © Greenpeace
But, I'm not just an environmental activist, I'm also a consumer. An environmentally-concerned consumer. I have doubts about the products that I use every day.
My colleagues have been investigating Russian companies, including Pomor Timber, Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill, and Titan Group. They are destroying one of the last remaining intact forest landscapes in The Dvinsky Forest.
Virgin Forest Destruction in Arkhangelsk Region in Russia, 8 Sep, 2016. © Greenpeace
It’s an incredible place, that has been untouched by human activity for thousands of years. It’s home to the endangered wild forest reindeer and whooping swan, (included in the Arkhangelskaya region's Red List) as well as brown bears and wolverines, to name but a few. Regional authorities planned to earmark The Dvinsky Forest Reserve for protection in 2011. But, for reasons unknown, the Dvinsky Forest remains unprotected.
Time is running out for the Dvinsky Forest. There is less than a year until the document, providing a list of planned protected areas, ceases to be in force. And logging companies are planning to expand their operations into the core of the Dvinsky Forest. This means it could be lost within a decade. A decade!
Industrial Logging in the Arkhangelsk Region, 13 Sep 2016. © Igor Podgorny / Greenpeace
These companies sell the wood to some of the world’s best known brands. I know them and I’m pretty sure you do to. We use them everyday. They include Auchan, Nestlé, PepsiCo, McDonald’s and SCA (owner of Libero, Libresse), amongst others. Recently, after work, I went to my local grocery store to buy some food and toilet paper and that kind of stuff. The store was full of products I couldn't trust. I bet the next time you go shopping for groceries, you’ll notice the same thing.
I no longer know which products are made from the trees of Dvinsky Forest, the forest I love.
As a consumer, I don’t want to be a part of the problem. Surely neither do the companies that make the products I use? At least, that’s what I want to believe.
Greenpeace is calling on these companies to join the efforts to save the Dvinsky forest and other critical parts of the Great Northern Forest. For the future of our planet, suppliers need to phase out their unsustainable practices before we lose these amazing and vital ecosystems forever.
Sign the petition to save the Great Northern Forest.
The full report 'Eye on the Taiga' is available here (pdf)
Khalimat Tekeeva is a Press Officer with Greenpeace Russia.