As many of you have probably heard by now, Maxxam Corporation is no longer in Humboldt County. After so many years of heartbreak and struggle with this Corporation, Maxxam is no longer in charge of Pacific Lumber and the ownership is now with Humboldt Redwood Company which also logs in Mendocino County under the name Mendocino Redwood Company.
It is a profound ending to a sad and destructive legacy, and now the work of healing the land and the relationships between people begins. Understandably, there is a lot of mistrust and grief, even some anger. But this shift in companies is actually quite huge.
Although, I in no way feel this company is my ideal by any stretch of the imagination–it does use some practices that I do not support at all–it is so much better than Maxxam, and much better than many other companies. Plus, Mike Jani, the President of the company is a really great guy, who truly cares about trying to find solutions that address environmental concerns as well as the need for jobs and running a successful company.
In a perfect world, we would have more local, worker-owned co-operative style models that keep more money local, and more emphasis on re-use of resources instead of constant, insatiable demand. However, since we do not live in a perfect world, we are grateful for opportunities that come along like this one– opportunities that open the pathway for the beginnings of restoration of both the human and the other-than-human landscape.
Recently, I went to a Maxxam out of Humboldt celebration. It was so powerful to spend time with people who span the decades of this struggle. Some I knew from before, but had not seen in years. Some who I had never met, who were part of the very beginning. And some, who had come along and gotten involved in more recent years. At the gathering, I was very present to how much of their lives people have given to protect the priceless, irreplaceable treasures of old growth forests. It was a poignant and powerful experience for me.
To all of the people involved over all the years in this vital endeavor and worthy struggle (and this absolutely includes people who consider themselves Earth First!), I bow in humble honor and say, “From the depths of my heart, Thank You.”