Big Media Year For Southern Forests, Communities, & Justice

The world is waking up to the realities of the climate crisis, environmental injustice, and the importance of forests. And now, the news media spotlight is growing brighter and brighter on the Southern United States.

Our Home the South

The South is home to some of the most beautiful and biodiverse places on Earth.


But the South is also home to one of the worst forest destruction cultures in the world. In fact, the US South is the largest producer of wood and paper products and exporter of wood pellets on the planet.

The South is also home to some of the most painful racial, environmental, and social injustices in America. At the same time, we have some of the most vibrant, resilient, and strong communities in the world.

Changing Our Economic System

We can’t continue to support a system that focuses on extraction. We must reject this system that destroys land and habitat, pollutes the air and water, contributes to climate change, and harms community health all in service to wealthy corporate interests. We must focus on resistance and resilience. We must transform our economy away from this extractive model and towards a regenerative one.


A great definition of what we mean by a “regenerative economy” comes from Climate Justice Alliance:

“Nature and humans are interdependent. Effective climate crisis solutions honor human rights and the rights of nature. Localized democracies that champion community rights to energy, land, water, and food sovereignty are the best answers to combating exploitation. Shared leadership produces community wellbeing and the most innovative solutions to our climate crisis. Workers should be at the forefront of shaping new economies rooted in fairness, equity and ecological values.”

We must radically change our culture and economy all while we face some of the most damaging impacts from the climate crisis like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts.

In the News

Throughout 2021, Dogwood Alliance and our frontline partners’ important work was featured in leading international, national, broadcast, and print media publications.

Our first big news story of the year was the cover piece published in Politico Magazine, “The ‘Green Energy’ That Might Be Ruining the Planet.” Next came an important story in The Guardian wanting our take on incoming EPA head Michael Regan, who we spent two years pushing to stop wood pellets in North Carolina as the head of NC Department of Environmental Quality. Right after that was a major piece from the New York Times, “There’s a Booming Business in America’s Forests. Some Aren’t Happy About It.”

North Carolina Mass Media

National attention then turned to injustices in North Carolina and our Governor’s failure to take action. There was a media feature in the Associated Press that was picked up by almost 120 communication channels big and small across the country.

This was then followed by the biggest news article of the year which featured our Executive Director, Danna Smith and some of our top frontline partners demonstrating the destructive impacts of the wood pellet industry on CNN.

Frontline Communities in the Media

As the year continued, we saw a large number of news articles shine a spotlight on how burning forests for electricity is a false solution to climate change. These pieces showed how communities (especially marginalized communities) across the South suffer because of this dirty industry.

Image by The People’s Justice Council

Major news media pieces appeared on NPR, National Geographic, and in The New Yorker. There were also media pieces on the impact the wood pellet industry was having on rural, environmental justice communities in the Gulf South on ABC National News and in the Huffington Post.

2021 was a banner year for mass media spotlighting the impacts that the forest products industry (especially the wood pellet industry) has on the forests and communities of the Southern US.

Photo of Community Organizers at Northampton Hearing

Our work appeared in 200 original stories that appeared in over 750 outlets and reached almost 1.5 billion people. It featured why we need to stop supporting false solutions to climate change and instead invest in regenerative solutions to protect our forests, communities, and biodiversity.

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