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!
Our friends at the World Wildlife Fund have just published their bi-annual Living Planet Report. It's a landmark study of our planet in terms of the health of our forests, rivers and oceans.
The results aren't pretty. Here are some of the facts they highlighted about our environment:
- We’ve lost 30 to 70 percent of our wildlife since 1970. That's an average. The tropics have lost 50 percent of their animals over the last 40 years, and tropical freshwater ecosystems have lost about 70 percent. The wild tiger population has suffered a 70 per cent decline in populations
- We are living as if we have the resources of an extra planet at our disposal. We’re using 50 percent more resources than the Earth can provide sustainably
- The U.S. has the fifth largest ecological footprint in terms of the amount of resources each person annually consumes. We rank only behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Denmark in the global rankings of the Ecological Footprint
These are just a few of the statistics noted in the 80 page report. But the good news is that it's not too late to save wildlife species and reverse unsustainable trends.
Green commerce plays a fundamental role in this as do you and I. The choices we make about our purchases will determine our planet's future.
Learn more about what Vermont Woods Studios is doing to promote forest conservation and preservation of endangered species like the Sumatran tiger. Join us in our green mission!
We posted a few suggestions for Valentine's gifts last week, but here it is Valentine's Day already and you may be caught unprepared. What are you going to do now?
But if you're looking for something faster and less expensive, how about sending a free Valentine's Day Ecard courtesy of The World Wildlife Fund? There are many cards to choose from– one is sure to catch your sweetheart's fancy.