This post is one in a series about Vermont Woods Studios’ mission of rainforest conservation and our support of Bolivian environmentalists dedicated to reforestation and ecotourism in the Amazon. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
The Vermont Furniture – Rainforest Connection
Last post, I shared the mission behind our sustainable furniture company. It’s rainforest conservation and here are a few reasons why that’s important to me:
- Although the earth’s rainforests cover less than 2% of it’s total surface area, they are home to 50 % of the Earth’s plants and animals
- We are losing the rainforest at a rate of 1 acre every second!
- About 100 rainforest species are going extinct every day
- What nature has crafted over hundreds of millions of years is being destroyed with no thought as to the consequences
- Much rainforest destruction is a result of clear cutting huge areas of land by organized crime
- The timber is used to supply cheap furniture and flooring to companies like IKEA and Lumber Liquidators
- The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, storing 1/5 of the world’s fresh water and producing 20% of the planet’s oxygen
Vermont Woods Studios is my attempt to raise awareness about the plight of the rainforest and to offer sustainable, Vermont made furniture as an alternative to illegal imports. At VWS we share our passion with customers and support non-profits dedicated to rainforest conservation. We also plant a tree for every furniture order we take (through the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project).
The Amazon is Disappearing: How Can We Help?
I’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon rainforest to understand what’s happening there and find a way for Vermont Woods Studios to help. But it’s a big place. At 2.72 million square miles, the Amazon Basin is roughly the size of the United States (minus Alaska). So where to start?
A strange coincidence happened. Riley (my son) took some time off from college this year to backpack through South America. He called recently to say he’d be doing rainforest conservation work for a woman named Rosamaria Ruiz in the Bolivian Amazon. For some reason that name rang a bell. I pulled up Google and sure enough, Rosamaria is someone I read about in National Geographic 15 years ago (the article was written by Steve Kemper). Ruiz is an award-winning environmental activist who led a National Geographic team through parts of the Bolivian Amazon and brought about the creation of a protected national park called Madidi. Something else she had a hand in creating: Vermont Woods Studios! Her story and others like it planted the seed for our sustainable furniture company.
Into The Amazon
So next week, Kendall (my other son) and I will be heading down to the Serere Reserve, an area of the Amazon rainforest conserved through the efforts of Rosamaria Ruiz. We’ll meet up with Riley where he’s volunteering in the Madidi National Park*. And we’ll ask Rosamaria and her team at Madidi-Travel what we can do at Vermont Woods Studios to support their efforts. I’ll keep you posted. If you’re interested to know more, check out these websites:
- National Geographic article about Madidi, written by Steve Kemper
- How to Visit or Volunteer in Madidi
- Tree of Rivers, The Story of the Amazon by John Hemming
* Fun Fact: The continental United States and Canada are home to about 700 species of birds. Madidi National Park (with 1/10 of 1% as much area) contains an estimated 1,000 bird species
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