Using the Internet to Save Cypress Swamps

For immediate release: June 13, 2007Contact: Aaron Viles, 504-525-1528, ext. 207Using the Internet to Save Cypress SwampsConservation Group Releases Short Web Animation to Urge Citizen ActionNew Orleans, LA- Cypress forests on the Gulf Coast are being clear-cut solely for the purpose of producing cypress garden mulch, despite their importance as critical habitat and natural storm and flood protection. The Gulf Restoration Network released Corporate Low-Down Depot Mart Clearcuts the Gulf Coast, a short FLASH animation, to criticize Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s who are selling cypress mulch throughout the country. Watch the video at www.healthygulf.org.”We’re selling cypress mulch, made from entire coastal cypress forests ground up for your garden. Cheap mulch!” says Harry Shearer, who did the voiceover for the mock advertisement that opens the clip.Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s have all been presented with extensive evidence of cypress clear-cutting for mulch that is taking place in vulnerable areas of the Gulf. Despite what they’ve seen, all three companies continue to loudly proclaim their environmental commitment without doing what it takes to save the cypress. The Save Our Cypress Coalition is calling on all three corporations to stop selling cypress mulch.”The most important actors in this tragic comedy are citizens and consumers,” says Dan Favre, Campaign Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, “After watching the clip, viewers will have the opportunity to send an email directly to the CEO’s of Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart to personally ask that they stop selling cypress mulch.”With the continued popularity of sites like YouTube and Google Video, non-profits are turning to short, entertaining videos in order to spread important messages, and they’re getting help. The Gulf Restoration Network’s Corporate Low-Down Depot Mart was created by Agit-Pop Productions and features Harry Shearer, voice of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns and other characters from The Simpsons.The video is part of an ongoing campaign by the Save Our Cypress Coalition, to halt the sale of cypress mulch. Last week, Save Our Cypress member group Waterkeeper Alliance held a press conference with their president Robert Kennedy, Jr. and ran a full-page ad in USA Today sending the same message.Cypress forests have been shown to be the best natural storm and flood protection for the Gulf Coast, and they are important habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species like the bald eagle and Louisiana black bear. Cypress swamps may also be the last refuge of the elusive ivory billed woodpecker. Due to changes in hydrology and the prevalence of invasive species, many of the cypress swamps that are being destroyed will never regenerate.To see the video and learn more, please visit www.healthygulf.org.###