June 8th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
I started Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture almost 7 years ago as part of a mission to help with rainforest conservation. We promote American made furniture that's built with local, sustainably harvested wood as an alternative to imported furniture made with illegal tropical timber, clear cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
But a couple years ago when we were searching for an eco-friendly line of outdoor furniture, I began to learn that furniture is such a HUGE commodity it's manufacture affects ocean conservation as well as forest conservation. Often when rainforests are clear-cut for timber, they are converted into plantations that require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The whole process results in soil erosion, run-off, ocean pollution and coral bleaching.
This knowledge is what led us to begin carrying our Polywood outdoor furniture collection which is made from recycled plastic beverage containers, rather than rainforest woods like teak or mahogany. I know this is a convoluted pathyway, but that's what reminded me of today's designation as World Oceans Day.
There's no denying it– we are destroying the oceans and we need to take action to restore them. 90% of the big fish are gone and many of the fish caught today never even have the chance to reproduce. The average size of the remaining big fish has been cut in half in the last 50 years (the average weight of a swordfish caught today is 90 lbs., down from 266 lbs. in 1960).
The Green Prophet has some great suggestions if you're wondering what you can do to help restore the oceans. In addition to avoiding the purchase of furniture made from tropical woods (like teak, mahogany, ipe and eucalyptus) you can also help by eating only sustainably harvested fish and learning more about ocean conservation.
OK, thanks for reading all this. Now time to head out to the beach for a swim!