Our friends at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and REVERB have teamed up with rock stars the likes of Maroon 5, Guster, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Sting, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, Deborah Harry and dozens of other musicians to bring attention to a subject that’s at the core of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios:
I started Vermont Woods Studios in 2005 to promote sustainable wooden furniture. I’d been studying the impacts of illegal logging of the earth’s tropical rainforests and wondered “why isn’t anybody doing anything about this”? With the destruction being driven by demand for cheap wood furniture, I realized there was something we could do to help… even from way up here in Vermont. Thus our Vermont made furniture store was born, with the mission of raising awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuading people to buy eco friendly furniture made from sustainably harvested wood.
FSC Certification Problems
That purpose is still at the heart of our mission, although the definition of “eco friendly wood furniture” has changed. Ten years ago the prevailing thought was that the hallmark of sustainably harvested wood furniture was a formal certification by the FSC, Forest Stewardship Council.
FSC is an international not for-profit group that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. It has been considered the “gold standard” for green certification and labeling of forest products since 1993. Unfortunately, as pure as FSC’s intentions may be, the job of monitoring the entire planet’s forests has proved impossible. With so much at stake and land areas too big to monitor, organized crime has taken over the global timber industry. FSC certification is now systematically forged to the point where you cannot tell whether “certified” furniture is made from legal wood.
Illegal Wood: Not Just About Climate Change & Loss of Biodiversity
A recent article by Alexander Zaitchik titled, Blood on Your Ottoman: Your Furniture’s Link to a Murderous Logging Epidemic chronicles the September 2014 murder of Edwin Chota and 3 other indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest. The article highlights the fact that organized crime has upped the ante for illegal timber. Murder is now fair game in their book and it’s happening more than you’d like to know.
“The first thing people can do is to revisit the assumption that buying “certified” wood products absolves them of responsibility for destroying the world’s remaining primary rainforests. If you’re buying Peruvian mahogany, or Brazilian rosewood, or Indonesian teak, there’s no way to determine whether or not it came from a legal, carefully managed tract, or whether a villager was killed for trying to keep that tree standing”.
Eco Friendly Wood Furniture = American Made Wood Furniture
Our message to conscious consumers shopping for eco friendly furniture, flooring, paper or other forest products is simple: buy American made. In the United States logging is regulated and enforced. There are more trees now than there were 100 years ago. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, “North American forest growth has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the ’50s”.
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.
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