Our sustainable furniture company was founded in 2005 on a mission of forest conservation. I had been studying rainforest conservation for years and wanted to see if I could do something to help change this startling statistic:
Every second of every minute of every day…
We lose over 1 acre of rainforest. Permanently.
Several years prior to starting Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture I had formed a non-profit corporation with the same mission (rainforest conservation) but I was never really able to get the funding I needed to lift it off the ground. So our wood furniture company was built as a for-profit corporation to help accomplish the same goals.
It’s not always easy to explain why a Vermont based fine furniture company is so committed to rainforest conservation. When I saw this info-graphic, Forests and the Green Economy (courtesy of The Nature Conservancy) I thought it might help. Here are a few rainforest facts that might surprise you:
- More than half of the planet’s species live in the rainforest even though the rainforest only occupies about 2% of the earth’s surface
- Many of our favorite iconic species are critically endangered due to deforestation, including all species of big cats and all species of big apes
- An estimated 137 species of plants and animals are driven into extinction every day due to deforestation
- Rainforest deforestation contributes as much to global warming as the sum of all the cars, trains and planes in the world
- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover <6%
- If deforestation continues at this rate, the rainforests could be gone in < 40 years and once they’re gone, they are gone forever. Rainforests do not regenerate the way our Northern temperate forests do
The Nature Conservancy summarizes this and other compelling facts about the rainforest in their info-graphic. Along with the World Wildlife Fund they are among the world’s best hopes for saving the rainforest. Check out their info-graphic and learn about ways you can help everyday through your choices of food, paper, furniture, flooring and other forest products.
At Vermont Woods Studios we donate $1 for every sale to the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project and run occasional benefits to support non-profits that work to save the rainforest and it’s inhabitants. Learn more about our work in the Mission section of our blog and website.
Please help us welcome our newest staff member, Neville Kerr to the Vermont Woods Studios family. Neville answered our call for a webmaster/developer/programmer/jack of all tech trades last December. We didn’t know he would also be bringing additional skills we hadn’t even asked for (like cooking and travel advice) but we’re glad he did.
Neville comes to us from Down Under. His background includes ecommerce consulting, extensive service in the Royal Australian Air Force and many interesting experiences in between. One of his passions appears to be travel. And oddly enough rainforest countries have been high on his list of destinations. How interesting since Vermont Woods Studios was founded on a mission of rainforest conservation.
The photo above was taken in Jaco, Costa Rica, a place Ken and I and the boys passed through two years ago on a trip to Manuel Antonio, while volunteering for the Eco Preservation Society. I discovered yesterday that Neville and his wife Carol also visited another of my favorite rainforest countries in their travels, Belize.
I don’t remember mentioning anything about the rainforest in our ad for a web developer so maybe it’s just good karma that brought this world traveler and his talents to our doorstep in tiny Vernon, Vermont. At any rate, we’re grateful for his help and looking forward to the many improvements he has in mind for our fine furniture website. Follow Neville’s work on our Facebook and let us know how you like our website improvements as they evolve over the next couple months.
Forest conservation is one of the two missions that Vermont Woods Studios is built on. We are trying to help raise awareness about the importance of sustainable use of the world's forests, particularly the rainforests. Sustainable use means that when we harvest trees we do so in such a way that the forest regenerates in a healthy fashion. We want the forest to have the same richness and biodiversity in 100 years as it does today. And in the case of forests that have already been damaged (most of them) we want to help restore the original character and biodiversity of the forest.
Did you know that 1.5 acres (about 1 football field) of rainforest are being lost every second due in part, to illegal harvesting of timber for the imported wood furniture and flooring industries? This clear-cutting of the world's rainforests is responsible for a greater portion of global warming than the entire transportation sector!
But as we lose the rainforests we're not only exacerbating global warming, we're also losing all of the amazing diversity of life that has evolved there for millions of years. Scientists estimate we're losing over 130 species per day due to rainforest destruction. All the great apes and great cats are at the forefront of this issue with each of these species being critically endangered. You can make a difference in the future of these species by the choices you make in the furniture store–look for American made furniture built with sustainably harvested American wood.
Read more about our rainforest conservation efforts.
Check out this video message about rainforest conservation from Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Kermit the Frog, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and the Dalai Lama. Seems I'm not the only one worried about this; one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.
Did you know that rainforest destruction accounts for a greater portion of the global warming problem than the entire transportation sector (the combined effect of pollutants from all the cars, boats, trains and planes on the planet)? Learn more about rainforest conservation and global warming from the Prince by visiting his website, rainforestsos.org.
At Vermont Woods Studios we make sure that the wood we use to build our furniture is harvested sustainably right here in the USA. Rainforest woods are not used in the making of our furniture.
Did you know there is a link between the wood furniture you buy and global warming? Some folks at TWC do and they've invited us to be their guest on The Weather Channel's new live show, The Lightning Rod with meteorologist Mark Elliot.
So what's the link between furniture and the weather? OK, it's a little tricky but stay with me. Up to 90% of the furniture we buy in the USA is imported (mainly from Asia) and made from wood that has been illegally clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
Rainforests play a role in regulating global weather by producing oxygen, giving off carbon dioxide, and regulating temperature and moisture. The oceans (algae) are the other major contributor to oxygen production but as they become increasingly polluted, our dependence upon the rainforests for weather modulation increases.
As rainforests are destroyed for timber that feeds the global market for cheap furniture, they are less able to regulate the weather. Purchasing furniture made from rainforest woods like teak, brazilian cherry and mahogany supports this illegal rainforest timber trade. The Washington Post talks about this in more detail in an article, "Corruption Stains the Timber Trade".
Choosing American made furniture and flooring built with sustainably harvested American wood decreases the demand for rainforest woods and helps decrease the rate of rainforest destruction, thereby enabling the rainforest to do its job of regulating global weather. So that's the link. We're excited to talk about it more with Mark and the crew of The Lightning Rod. Watch us live at 10pm EST on Monday July 19th to see how it goes!
Many thanks to Trish Ragsdale, The Lightning Rod producer for all her help in planning and arranging for our appearance on the show.
The whereas section of a document provides the reasons for its existence. So here are the facts that compelled the birth of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture Store. It’s all about helping to: save the Rainforest and fight global warming. And we need to act quickly.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
- There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
- 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.
- 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, I KNOW this stuff bothers you as much as me. Time to get on The Green Train! Keep reading for more info and ways to help.