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Goodwood

1998
Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by David Springbett and Heather MacAndrew for CBC's The Nature of Things
Directed by David Springbett
VHS, color, 45 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Environmental Studies


Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library, American University

Recommended   
 


Will loggers and environmentalists be forever in a deadlock over control of the forests of the world? Deforestation is a polarizing issue with defenders of each side of the argument often digging in their heels and expressing little in compromise. Cooperation or compromise is still taboo to the radical extremes on both sides but there is a growing middle ground of conservationists who are looking for ways to make forests sustainable. Goodwood champions this middle ground by documenting efforts to save the forests without giving up profits.

Goodwood, part of the CBC's The Nature of Things series offers case studies of environmental projects in the Americas that add value to forests and thus are beginning to remove the incentive to clear-cut.

The individual stories include one of a village in Belize that has started using an Appalachian method of chair making to utilize traditionally under-valued trees; another one about a high quality furniture maker in Kootenai, British Columbia also using low use tree species in order to slow the decimation of the forest; another about a cooperative mill in Oaxaca, Mexico that has resulted in more jobs for villagers while cutting fewer trees overall; and finally a story about an international effort to certify wood from forests that maintain standards of sustainability. Each of the segments illustrate that environmental and business interests can share common ground. These are small solutions to very big problems but they set good examples and they are making a difference.

The program has high production values as one would expect from a CBC production though the documentary technique employed (talking heads, non-descript narration, new age background muzak) isn't going to knock anyone's socks off. The target audience is accurately listed as Grade 7 to adult. The program would certainly be of interest in college-level environmental policy courses.

There is a pantheon of videotapes, including many others from Bullfrog Films, about the effects of deforestation and local efforts to address the problem. This one, however, is one of the few that offers a look at what it will take to make forests more profitable without denuding them.

The program is recommended for academic and medium to large public libraries particularly in areas where deforestation is an unusually sensitive issue.