Eco Friendly Furniture Bethel CT
Green in the Grain
By Kristin Bjornsen
Normally when you think of environmental villains, you think of smokestacks, Hummers, and aerosol hairspray—not the floral-patterned loveseat in the corner of your living room. But everyday furniture often contains wood clear-cut from endangered forests around the world, forests critical for clean air, wildlife preservation, the development of new medicines, and countless other essential functions. More than 80 percent of the world’s old growth trees have already been razed, and some of that wood ends up supporting your coaster as you kick back to watch “The Sopranos.” Forests in Papua New Guinea, for example, provide wood for a good chunk of the inexpensive furniture in the US and Europe, and experts say the country’s rainforests will vanish by 2020 if current logging rates continue.
Staring at aisle upon aisle of tables, chairs, and papasans, scratching your head over which to buy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed—after all, simply deciding on a color palette is hard enough, never mind tracking down whether the wood was sustainably harvested. But organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) can help you see the forest for the trees. This nonprofit, founded in 1993, certifies timber cut in an environmentally and socially responsible manner that protects the forests’ ecological integrity, the area’s water quality, and the rights of indigenous people and local communities. “If wood’s logged illegally, a community might only make $1 per log compared to $100 for a legally cut log,” says Katie Miller, FSC communications director. The FSC certifies more than 190 million acres worldwide, but the group protects more than just rainforest hardwoods from exotic locales. “Tropical species get the most attention, but we need to take care with any species of wood to find out how it was harvested,” Miller says. “Was it cut and run? Were people, wildlife, or the land harmed?”
You can spot sustainably harvested wood by looking for the FSC seal at timber stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s or at furniture stores like South Cone and even Crate and Barrel. More than 6,000 manufacturers and distributors carry FSC-certified products; if a particular retailer doesn’t carry them, Miller advises asking why not and whether they can.
The carpenter’s call
Along with nonprofits like the FSC, a growing number of independent furniture makers are working to green the business as well. Faber Dewar, one of the star carpenters on the hit TV show “Trading Spaces,” represents one face of the sustainable furniture movement. He started his career dumpster-diving in California: In 1995, “a friend from Britain and I decided to make furniture using wood we salvaged from old 1920s cottages being torn down,” explains Dewar from his store, Alderley Edge, in Venice Beach, California. They also incorporated reclaimed tin and copper into their tables and mirrors.
The unique look of the furniture caught on, and today Dewar sells to celebs like Steven Spie...
Author: Kristin Bjornsen
Copyright 1999-2009 Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living/Alternative Medicine/InnoVisi...