The International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations has its roots in Brazil, where 21 September is the “Day of the Tree”. Activists campaigning against industrial tree plantations chose this symbolic date for a National Day of Struggle in Brazil against Monoculture Tree Plantations.
On 21 September 2004, two demonstrations took place in Brazil. One demonstration took place in the community of Vinhático, in the north of Espirito Santo province. More than 1,000 people, members of local communities, the Movement of Landless Peasants (MST) and the Movement of Small Peasants (MPA) pulled up eucalyptus seedlings on an area of 1,800 hectares – land which was in the process of being sold to Aracruz Celulose. A march and public meeting also took place in the nearby town of Montanha, where hundreds more local people joined in.
A second demonstration took place in Vila do Riacho, also in the north of Espirito Santo province. Here, about 700 people, including local communities, MST, MPA, Tupinikim and Guarani Indigenous People and supporting organisations destroyed about 4 hectares of eucalyptus plantations and stopped a truck, destroying its load of 4,000 eucalyptus seedlings. The demonstrators then marched to the Aracruz pulp mills and lit a fire with the eucalyptus wood at the entrance gates to the mill.
Inspired by these actions, the International Day of Action against Monoculture Tree Plantations started in 2005. The aim is to link the overconsumption of paper in the North (and parts of urban centres in the South) with the negative impacts for local people facing the spread of industrial tree plantations in the global South.
This year, World Rainforest Movement is working on a special issue of the WRM Bulletin focused on the social impacts of tree plantations and an international press release to announce the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantation.
World Rainforest Movement recently issued this announcement about this year’s activities:
This coming 21 September we will once again be marking the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations.
As a way of raising awareness about the different kinds of impacts suffered by communities in countries around the world as a result of monoculture tree plantations, we at WRM, Friends of the Earth and the Global Forest Coalition invite you to join in this worldwide day of protest.
You may be wondering what you can do on this day. There are a wide variety of activities that can be planned in our different countries and communities. While the activities chosen will depend upon the possibilities of each one of us, there are a number of ideas that we would like to share with you. For example:
- Meetings about plantations (conferences, seminars, workshops).
- Media activities (press releases, press conferences, interviews with newspapers, radio and TV programmes, internet articles).
- Public events (in urban and rural areas) to inform the public about the impacts of plantations.
- Dissemination of testimonials from people affected by plantations.
- Meetings with government representatives.
However there are also very simple things that can be done at an individual level, such us:
- Hanging a sign/banner in the window of your office or home.
- Putting a bumper sticker on your vehicle.
- Sending your email contacts a message about the meaning of the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations.
- Placing a banner on your website and on blogs.
We are preparing a series of tools that can help you to organize the kind of activities we have recommended. If you would like to receive them, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In addition, two other tools already developed by WRM are also available for use:
1) The video “Mountains of Paper, Mounting Injustice”
2) The “Appeal from literature and journalism for socially and environmentally clean paper”
Please feel free to write to us if you need further information.