If you knew that buying a certain kind of wood would help the environment would you buy the wood? It sounds a little like a riddle, but it is a question that the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is posing to the consuming public. I guess I never thought that my buying choices when dealing with outdoor or indoor furniture would really make that much of a difference to the environment. It seems rather silly that I never considered it. After all, most furniture is made out of wood and where does wood come from? All together now—the forest. I have done my best to conserve water, brake for animals, rescue the injured and keep the lights off to conserve energy, but I had a “duh” moment with the furniture buying.
According to NWF, long ago about six billion acres of tropical rain forest covered the earth. Today, less than half that amount remains and with deforestation and habitat destruction, the numbers are slowly declining.
Specifically talking about outdoor furniture, the US is the largest consumer of this type of furniture made from tropical wood sources, and they are advocating that we do something about it. They have recently launched a campaign to help the US furniture manufacturers and retailers find legally harvested timber. Where do you find such a thing? NWF claims that ideally it will come from forests that are certified under the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council system. They guarantee that landscapes are managed to protect water, soil and wildlife habitat. For future references on how you can make sure you are buying environmentally sound outdoor patio gear, there will be a scorecard rating the performances of businesses, including Crate & Barrel, Sears, Pottery Barn, The Home Depot and quite a few others. To view the 2007 edition of this scorecard, visit www.nwf.org/forests
No wonder our outdoor furniture is made out of recycled milk crates! My mom was ahead of the curve.
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