Blog: Olly WehringDon't buy that, buy this - or the Iberian lynx is for it

Olly Wehring | 23 July 2010

We had a press release come through earlier this week that has been troubling me a tad.

The Portuguese Cork Association, APCOR, sent out a statement on Wednesday (21 July) aimed at debunking what it claims are widely-believed myths about natural cork.

That's right, folks. It's stopper-time again.

Anyway, the three myths are:

  • “Trees are cut down in the production of cork so it's better for the environment to buy other closures.”
  • “Screw caps are the most environmentally friendly closure.”
  • “Corked wine is still an issue of wine using natural cork stoppers.”

I'll leave myth number three, because it's boring. But the first two clearly show that the cork producers are going for the green card.

“According to Conservation International,” the release goes on, “the cork oak forests are a top diversity hotspot and have some of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth e.g. the Iberian lynx.”

Then, adding the final layer with a trowel, Jose Tavares from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is quoted as saying: “For centuries, the production of cork has helped to retain cork forests, one of the richest wildlife habitats in southern Europe. A range of species from eagles and Iberian lynx to songbirds and reptiles find a vital refuge in these forests, and a reduction in the use of natural cork threatens the existence of these special species and also a magical and vibrant landscape.”

Now, hold on there. Is this not the equivalent of holding a gun to a puppy's head and saying: “Buy cork, or the puppy gets it?"

It's the emotional blackmail that makes me squirm.

More importantly, however, do you know if a bottle of wine has a natural cork stopper or a synthetic stopper when you're buying it? I don't.

And I'd HATE to get home and open the bottle only to find out that I've unwittingly killed an Iberian lynx.


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