Of Forests and Fairytales

Before you buy it, do you FSC it?

Buy wood of course.

Sorry, I tried and tried to come up with a clever, rhyming soundbite but nothing worked and that’s why I’m a demonised, economy-crushing public-sector worker and not a high-flying, over-paid writer of cheesy soundbites.

Anyway, did you know or care that 2011 is the International Year of the Forest as declared by none other than the UN? Well it is. And we should care!

I do love forests.  I find them mystical and awesome and I can’t think of anything more fun than losing myself in one.  Well, that’s not quite true.  I’m not Snow White and there would be no Bambi or Thumper rushing to my aid if I got lost in one.  I’m more like Red Riding Hood with her bad friendship choices and dodgy hoodies.  But they are enchanting places to explore.  I spent many an idle childhood hour in the woods building imaginary tree-houses or making endless daisy chains.  Or I’d be chasing Faeries and hunting for witches.   The imagination at its unburdened best and not an XBox or iPod in sight.  Sigh.

Anyway, enough of the wistfulness, the good guys at WWF have a campaign running which asks the question . . . ‘If you knew where your wood came from: What wood you choose?’

Facts are that approximately 1.5 million cubic metres of  illegal timber and wood products are imported into the UK every year and it doesn’t need me to tell you that these statistics have a significantly detrimental impact on forests, species, habitats and wildlife.  And it threatens the livelihoods of people from some of the worlds poorest communities.

Most people are aware of the Fair Trade campaign and no-one can argue that buying our food ethically whenever we can is beneficial and good but we seem not to think as much about where our non-food items are sourced – everyday items such as paper and loo roll, not forgetting bigger things such as decking, flooring and furniture.

Basically, illegal logging is having a devastating effect on people and wildlife and is contributing to the decline of endgangered species.  While we continue to buy products that have been illegally sourced, the deforestation, destruction and exploitation will continue.

As WWF states, you don’t have to stop buying timber products.  Wood that has been harvested and managed responsibly is a renewable and sustainable resource that can help support the forests, the wildlife and the communities that depend on them. All we need to do is look for the FSC logo on the product we are buying.   Simple as that.

[Click the logos for more info]


9 responses to this post.

  1. And to add more to the pile, I hear Brazil tries to flood some largely treed zones to help industry over there. The Amazon on the way to be another victim of consumism.
    What else can we do apart from vetoing Brazilian production, which in turn would mean more poverty for Brazilians? How can the world cope with people’s induced endless thirst of welfare?


    • Hi Jose, hope you and yours are well.

      Yes vetoing Brazilian products would have a paradoxical effect. No easy answers there.

      The WWF campaign an be very effective in protecting both the forests and the communities around them – if we choose our purchases kindly.


  2. All well here, hope yours and you are not meeting with too many inconveniences in these God-forsaken times.

    It is, indeed, difficult to have to choose between helping Nature or helping the poor, as you say common sense must prevail.

    There are, though, many ways to help the poor. One of them is helping them to earn their own lives without resourcing to hurting Nature. But greed is and has been for all the time the human being has existed the powerful enemy of our existence


  3. No sound bites needed, excellent post!

    We’re currently building our shed out of recycled timber – it’s the poor man’s choice I guess if you can’t afford new FSC timber – it is slightly bowed and we are acquiring it in drips and drabs, but it will do! There is an awful lot of unused wood lying around in this country (quite a bit of it in our garden!). A good place to find out about sources of recycled timber can be found here http://recyclewood.wrap.org.uk/ and nosing around in haulage and scrap yards has also proved fruitful for us.

    As Jose points out it is not always easy to determine what effects our consumer choices will have upon poorer people in the world. The Brazilian economy is in fact booming so now is a good time to exert the potential power of ethical consumerism.


  4. That’s excellent Goo! That’s what recycling is all about. Brilliant stuff. You are a true inspiration.

    Thanks for the link. That website is really useful. I’ve bookmarked it and sent the link to my hubby who is starting a garden project soon involving wood products.


  5. Hi Earthie,
    I hope you all are well.

    One way out would be to enforce mandatory investment in wood.

    Something like this, http://www.ethicalforestry.com/
    There are numerous such projects websites scattered around the internet across many nations. I do not know if these are honest ventures or a new form of scam.

    Money talks. The only way to make humans plant, preserve and value trees and forests is with the temptation of a monetary benefit at the end of it all.

    Tie up their money in the welfare of woodlands, they will all be there to make sure that their money will trees will grow on the trees. 😉


    • Hey there my friend. Great to hear from you. I’m fine thanks. How about you and yours?

      Yes, I’ve been discovering some great websites with some innovative wood-related schemes. But I know what you mean, it’s hard not to be cynical. It seems to me that the business people are recognising the changing times/needs and are looking to cash in on it.

      Top and bottom is, If it’s sustainable and it protects the forests without detriment to communities then it’s a success. Usually, where there’s money to be made, there’s exploitation. Let’s hope this is different.

      You’re spot on Little Indian, money really does talk. 🙂


  6. HI, I found your blog from our mutual friend Little Indian 🙂 excellent blog. I live in the States in North east Pennsylvania. I see the effects here with the “logging” of some rural areas, moving the “homes” for wildlife. In these times, more resort to this, very sad. I am familiar with the WWF, and hope all this starts to make a difference. 🙂


    • Hi Autumn, thank you for your kind words.

      I love your blog!! It’s beautiful. I will bookmark it promptly and look forward to your posts. 🙂


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