About a month ago, WORT producer Richelle Wilson started receiving tweets and emails saying “You have to read this!” and linking to an article in the New Republic. The piece, called “Ikea’s Race for the Last of Europe’s Old-Growth Forest,” tells the story of illegal logging in Romania—and reveals just how deep the problem goes, with environmentalists, journalists, and forest rangers being physically attacked and even murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We talk a lot on this show about both environmental issues and critiques of capitalism and major corporations. This story about IKEA and Romania’s old-growth forest links the two and brings to light the serious issues with what’s called “fast furniture” and, of course, illegal deforestation.
Today, Richelle guests hosts the show and spends the hour with journalist Alex Sammon, who reported this story. They talk about the economic and political histories that shaped how this old-growth forest came to be and why it’s under threat now, the challenges of regulating illegal logging in Europe, Alex’s own dangerous trip to Romania, and how IKEA and “fast furniture” are manifestations of the housing crisis.
Alex Sammon is a staff writer at The American Prospect.