How Lumber Use Can Help The Earth
If you haven’t heard, climate change is a big deal these days. And one of the big questions being raised is: “what can we do about it?” Obviously saving the climate will take more than just riding a bike to work, and the international community seems like they’re taking their time. And why is a lumber company’s blog tackling this heavy subject, anyway? Well, it turns out that the lumber industry actually has the potential to contribute to the fight against climate change. How? By mitigating global carbon emissions. This means your friendly local lumber supplier has a role to play in saving the Earth!
Here’s the facts:
Research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that the world’s wood products – including paper, lumber, furniture and others – mitigates less than 1% of yearly global carbon emissions by sequestering the element within their wooden forms.
Less than 1%? Big deal, some might scoff. But look deeper. The study also adds that this percentage will definitely grow if more carbon-sequestering wood products are used in the future. Each and every contribution matters, and by using more wood and lumber products, countries can continue their economic growth while helping the environment and meeting their carbon-reduction goals. Development and fighting climate change don’t need to be exclusive!
As forest economics professor Craig Johnston says:
“Countries are looking for net-negative emissions strategies. So it’s not just about lowering our emissions but pursuing strategies that might have storage potential, and harvested wood products are one of those options. It’s nice because you can pursue options that don’t hinder growth. The question is, can we continue to consume wood products and have climate change benefits associated with that consumption?”
Disposing of Disposables
With the growing trend of environmental consciousness, there’s a general movement away from disposable plastic-based products. This ranges from grassroots awareness campaigns against single-use plastic straws, to big corporations and governments seeking alternative materials.
In light of this, wood and lumber products are poised to make a resurgence. As this Business Insider article shows, there’s an impetus for using plastic-less products for the household. From cutlery, hangers and bowls, to durable furniture made out of lumber, carved toys and decorations, people are discovering (or re-discovering) more and more uses for wood and lumber.
This is great for our line of work. Old-fashioned lumber suppliers are going to be the new In Thing. Same with woodworking, craftsmanship and similar hobbies – these will definitely be passed on to the next generation. Soon, trendy hipsters and influencers are going to be picking up these skills and trades, posting countless selfies with circular saws and power tools. Sure it is a funny mental image – kids, please use the proper safety equipment and practices – but it’s also an encouraging vision of the future.
It’s heartening to see that our field, our industry, and the passion of woodworking and crafting make a positive impact. There’s a sense of vindication in knowing that the lumber we supply, that we work on with our hands to create durable and lasting products, are better for the Earth than the flimsy plastics we’ve become too reliant on.