Sustainable-furnitureKendall posted a new webpage the other day on the link between your furniture, rainforest conservation and a greener, more sustainable world. It's why we do what we do at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Wood Furniture.

 

Sometimes I feel like a nutcase– living in Vermont and talking about rainforest conservation all the time.  But I can't help it.  It's one of the Top 3 environmental problems of our time, yet few people seem to know about it.

 

Check out these rainforest facts and let me know if you too see this as a matter of great urgency.

 

Rainforest-conservation-furniture

  1. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined)

  2. 54 of the world's 193 countries have lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth's land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  3. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
  7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  8. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  9. In Indonesia, the current aggressive rate of logging could eradicate native forests within only 10 years. Unlike our temperate forests in Vermont for example, rainforests do not regenerate after they are destroyed. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

If you've managed to read this far, you rock! Leave a comment below or check in with us now and then on Facebook to see what we're doing to to help replant the rainforest with our Plant a Billion Trees project.  Join us and together we can make a difference!

 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

My friennd Annette sent this nature quote to me a couple years ago but I still think about it often:

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees.
Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts;
and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once,
to hear the trees speak for themselves,
all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.

-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)



Fall-colors-vtJohn Muir co-founded the Sierra Club and is often referred to as the Father of the USA National Park Service.  He is America's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist.  At Vermont Woods Studios, our mission is founded on sustainable forestry, so Muir's life and accomplishments serve as a poignant reminder of the important things that just one person can do.  Here's how Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard put it in an interview with Sierra Magazine:

  •  If you think about all the gains our society has made, from independence to now, it wasn't government. It was activism. People think, 'Oh, Teddy Roosevelt established Yosemite National Park, what a great president.' BS. It was John Muir who invited Roosevelt out and then convinced him to ditch his security and go camping. It was Muir, an activist, a single person.

I really do believe that each of us can make a difference and help to change the world.  What do you think? 

Heading out for a walk in the woods now 🙂

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

We're big tree lovers here at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Yes, we rely on them as natural resources for your furniture but also– Vermonters just have a very personal connection to the forest.  Stewardship and sustainability are a part of us.

I happened to catch a great show on PBS the other night called Return to the Forest Where We Live.  It focused on our country's urban forests and the vital role they play in the economic health of our cities.  Would you believe that about 2400 acres/day are being converted from rural to urban land use in America?  Joni Mitchell said this decades ago:  when you cut down trees to put up parking lots you end up with trouble. 

Now we know that among other problems, deforestation increases the temperature of these formerly rural cities by anywhere from five to ten degrees. And that hot temperature really does have a negative impact.  It lowers air quality because hot trees are less healthy and unable to scrub the air of CO2 and pollutants effectively.

Loss of trees in cities also causes flooding, erosion, runoff and water pollution.

Scientist can now quantify the economic benefits of trees in urban areas.  City planners are seeing the hard financial facts about the role of green spaces in reducing air pollution, erosion, summer temperatures, storm water problems and smog.  They are fighting for budgets to increase urban forests and trees and showing the enormous savings associated with the planting and management of trees.  In fact, six million trees provide about $64 million worth of benefits every year.  Where else are you going to get a better than 10:1 return on investment?

Trees can make a big difference to the quality of lives in urban areas. They modify the microclimate of our environments, they clean our air, they reduce flooding and rainfall runoff, they protect our soil from erosion. They just contribute to the quality of our environment, and the quality of our life in many, many ways.

So anyway, I just loved this Tree show on Louisiana PBS and I'm going to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree.  You can do so too.  If it's not easy to plant one yourself, you can have The Nature Conservancy plant one for you.  They'll do it for $1/tree as part of their Plant A Billion Trees Campaign.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.


American-wood-bed-furniture Have you ever thought about where your wood furniture comes from?  
Over the past few decades, the organic food movement has made us ask questions about the origin of our food. Now the fundamental concerns voiced in that movement are being extrapolated to the furniture and flooring industries. People want to know where their furniture comes from and what they're finding out is often more disturbing than the facts that were uncovered regarding the origins of our food.

For facts about the origin of your furniture, check out Vermont Woods Studios' latest article on American Wood Furniture and Global Forest Conservation at Ezine.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Siberian-tigers 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.  Did you know there are only about 3200 tigers left in the wild?  This tiger subspecies, the Siberian Tiger– the world's largest cat is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat.  I can't stand the idea of letting these magnificient creatures disappear forever on our watch.  Can you?

If not, here's something you need to know and it has to do with where you and your friends, family and neighbors buy your furniture. 

Siberian tigers live mainly in Russian forests which are now under assault by global timber conglomerates.  Tiger habitat is being systematically decimated to provide illegal timber that's used to make cheap furniture which is marketed mainly in the USA.  In fact, up to 90% of the furniture you see for sale in our country is made of illegally harvested wood that is clear cut from ecologically sensitive habitats like this.

You can help save the tiger by avoiding the purchase of imported wood furniture.  Buy American made furniture instead.  There are still many companies in the USA that specialize in furniture made from sustainably harvested wood that grows and is replanted right here in the USA.  America has some of the world's best quality hardwoods and our forest conservation laws are working to keep it that way.  One of our Vermont foresters told me the other day that in VT, our forests are growing at a rate that is faster than the harvest rate– certainly an important part of the definition of sustainability.

 If you want to learn more about the connection between tigers, forest conservation and wood furniture, give us a call at Vermont Woods Studios.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.