Boiling Crabs to Save the SwampsActivists Protest the Sale of Unsustainable Cypress Mulch at Home DepotAtlanta, GA- Gathered around a pot of boiling Louisiana blue crabs outside the Home Depot corporate headquarters, members of the Save Our Cypress Coalition once again called on The Home Depot, Inc. to live up to their environmental commitment by ending the sale of unsustainable cypress mulch. Cypress forests in the Southeast are being permanently destroyed to produce and sell garden mulch.”We have crabs in Georgia, too, and protecting our wetlands and swamps is essential for Georgians, especially those of us who like eating crabs”, said Gordon Rogers, Executive Director of the Satilla Riverkeeper, in a prepared statement. “In the Satilla River watershed and others, I have witnessed the destruction of cypress forests, and I drive by the mulch plant almost daily. Destruction of the freshwater swamps of the Satilla, up around Douglas, Waycross, Alma, Jesup, and Baxley, severely impacts the brackish water production areas for the blue crabs of St. Andrews Sound, between Jekyll Island and Cumberland.”Home Depot’s established sustainability policies recognize the importance of and the role it can play in preserving areas that support biodiversity and protect human life and property. The Home Depot Wood Purchasing Policy is not being upheld in the case of cypress mulch. (http://corporate.homedepot.com/wps/portal/Wood_Purchasing)Therefore, with a giant banner stating “Home Depot Endangers Habitats and Homes” as the backdrop, activists arrived Thursday to deliver thousands of petitions and a plate of hot, boiled Louisiana blue crabs to Home Depot corporate executives.”Clear-cutting cypress forests to make mulch is like shredding the constitution to make Post-It notes,” said Dan Favre, Campaign Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, “Home Depot is driving the destruction of a national treasure in order to sell a disposable product.”The Save Our Cypress Coalition, now supported by over 150 organizations, originally called on Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart to stop selling cypress mulch in November 2006. Since then, Home Depot and Lowe’s have claimed to no longer sell cypress mulch from a limited area of Louisiana, but the companies have yet to address their role in the destruction of cypress forests throughout the state and the Southeast. Wal-Mart is no longer selling cypress mulch that is harvested or manufactured in the state of Louisiana.”I appreciate the companies’ actions regarding Louisiana, especially Wal-Mart, but with no transparency in the supply chain, they can’t be sure where their mulch is sourced,” stated Favre , “And, what about other states with cypress, like Georgia and Florida? Pushing cypress mulch production to other areas and destroying flood protection and important wildlife habitat there is not a real solution.””Home Depot talks a big game about protecting the planet’s forests, but they’re not living up to the hype, even here in their home state of Georgia” said Michael Barry, a GSU student. “Home Depot has an opportunity to be an industry leader by simply making the switch to sustainable mulch alternatives.”The Save Our Cypress Coalition recommends alternatives such as pine bark mulch, pine straw, melaleuca mulch, eucalyptus mulch, and yard leaves. Full descriptions are available at www.saveourcypress.org. In Georgia, at least one mulching operation, specializes in mulches made only from recycled materials.Cypress forests are the best natural storm and flood protection for surrounding communities. They also provide vital habitat for wildlife, help filter and store water before it enters streams and aquifers, and represent wonderful recreational and eco-tourism opportunities. There is well-documented evidence of swamps being clear-cut and whole trees being ground into mulch in Louisiana and Florida, and growing concern in Georgia. Pressure on forests in the Southeast could continue to grow if the market for cypress mulch expands. The Save Our Cypress Coalition is working to end the sale of unsustainable cypress mulch, wherever it is logged.For more, visit www.saveourcypress.org and www.healthygulf.org .