Defend the Great Northern Forest

The Great Northern Forest plays a crucial role in the survival of all life on Earth storing more carbon than the Congo, Amazon and Indonesian…

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“Hi, would you like to have your photograph taken to help protect the Great Northern Forest?” Earlier this year, we  took to the streets to ask people this very question. Our dream is that the critical forest landscapes in this beautiful forest should be protected. Not just for the unique species that call it home, but also to stabilise the planet’s climate for us all.

Forest near Lake Blecktjärnen in Sweden © Edward Beskow / Greenpeace

Forest close to lake Blecktjärnen in Jämtland. Greenpeace is documenting forest and forestry activities in the Swedish part of the Great Northern Forest.

We know it can be done, but we can’t do it alone.

Many of the people behind this dream couldn’t come with us in person, so we took their portraits with us to help keep an eye on one of the last remaining truly wild forests in Sweden and prevent it from being logged.

Giant Portraits in Swedish High Value Forest Threatened by Logging © Edward Beskow / Greenpeace

The portraits of three hundred people supporting Greenpeace campaign to protect the Great Northern Forests are placed in a high value forest in Ånge, in the northern part of Sweden.

Nearly 300 people are with us: the faces of young and old, of all genders, colours and backgrounds.

© Edward Beskow / Greenpeace

The area is exemplary of the type of forests that need to be protected in order to safeguard the biological diversity in the Swedish part of the Great Northern Forests. Only a small percentage of the Swedish forests is currently under any kind of protection.

These last remaining truly wild forests are under serious threat, both here in Sweden, and all across the Great Northern Forest. Our research found that this exact spot could be logged any day now.

Across from us is a stark reminder of what’s at risk: a mangled and barren clearcut where a similar green forest once stood.

That’s why we’re here.

Aerial View of Forest and Clear Cut in Sweden © Edward Beskow / Greenpeace

Aerial photos of an area close to lake Kiltjärnen in Västernorrland County, Sweden.

As I walk through this beautiful, biodiverse forest, it’s truly inspiring to see the diversity of the faces of people who also believe these unique places should be protected. I’m reminded of their voices too. “To save old forests is to save old wisdom and future life,” says Karl from Sweden. I pass by a photo of Anna-Kaisa from Finland who says, “Without forests, we have no roots.”

These forests are our route to a hopeful future; a future where biodiversity flourishes and the global climate is stable.

Protecting them will take a movement of people ready to stand and act together.

Even if you couldn’t be in the forest with us today, you can join the movement asking Europe’s largest tissue giant Essity to stop wiping away the Great Northern Forest.

Ethan Gilbert is a volunteer coordinator with Greenpeace Nordic