This Earth Day - Do Good. Use Wood.
Earth Day is more than taking care of our own personal habitat - and good Earth stewardship requires an ongoing consideration of all the facts.
4 MINUTE READ
_Evergreen _receives hundreds of email queries in the runup to Earth Day. The deluge of invitations to “do this” and “stop doing that” or “save this” and “use that” begins in February and builds to a crescendo in the days prior to the April 22 event.
Our name - Evergreen - has been a target for hucksters, shysters, snake-oil salesmen, public relations hacks and sincere, but misinformed imitators since our founding in 1986. Most of their missives remind us of the late George Carlin’s hysterical monologue:
“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves.”
Later in his monologue Carlin notes that the concern with one’s personal habitat - might blind one to the meaning of true planet stewardship. He’s not wrong.
Evergreen absolutely celebrates Earth day, is grateful for our Earth’s resources and bounty, and supports science-based solutions.
However, some have hijacked Earth Day’s message and well-intended purpose. The jet-setting Davos Crowd - serial litigators, politicians, global bankers and their cohorts in the entertainment industry - comes to mind.
These people do not spend time in the woods.
Consider… the control one entity could have - if it could limit access to Earth’s natural resources. As a great friend warned me years ago, “He who controls access to natural resources - controls the future of the world.”
No, we don’t have burglars under our bed, but save for our website, where did you last see Gifford Pinchot’s insightful observation from his autobiographical Breaking New Ground:
“Without natural resources life itself is impossible. From birth to death, natural resources transformed for human use, feed, clothe, shelter and transport us. Upon them we depend for every material necessity, comfort, convenience and protection in our lives. Without abundant natural resources, prosperity is out of reach.”
The latest hue and cry is “Climate Change” [Melting glaciers, polar bears adrift on ice sheets, rising sea levels and fatal greenhouse gases]. Earlier failed attempts to force the unwashed [that’s us] to change our ways were “Global Cooling” [The fast approaching Ice Age and starvation for millions] and “Global Warming” [The sweltering heat and global drought will kill all of us].
Lost amidst these scenarios is the fact - and often omitted variable - that planet Earth has been going through short and long warming and cooling patterns for eons. Redwood trees once thrived inside the Arctic Circle and a mile-thick ice sheet once covered our yard in Dalton Gardens, Idaho. This needs to be part of the climate change conversation.
We’ve written many times about the University of Arizona’s Tree Ring Research Project. Using tree ring counts and soil samples, project scientists have mapped Earth’s climate in reverse for 2,000 years. Sine waves track warming and cooling cycles.
More recently, scientists working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have joined the discussion.
It seems that the manipulation of the “climate change” narrative is not working out so well. Solar and wind farms consume unprecedented amounts of non-renewable materials, mainly minerals that must be mined. Ditto EV’s that are all the rage with the Davos set. Building electric cars is hardly a savings of natural resources and energy conservation.
Refer back to Pinchot…
Wherever you land in your beliefs about the climate - and the causes of change - there is one overriding constant. We have circumstances that require immediate action. We must manage for the conditions on the ground.
Evergreen’s Earth Day message hasn’t changed in 38 years: Wood is the only natural resource on Earth that is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable. The only energy required to make wood is the free, non-polluting energy of the sun.
To commemorate Earth Day, we’re reintroducing a message we crafted in the early 1990s. “Our Daily Wood” was silk-screened onto pie-shaped blocks of wood. Our new version will be laser-engraved on a wooden round. We’re in the prototype phase now and hope to have some available for sale in June.
A grand scale perspective on wood use is the construction of a new concourse at Portland International Airport. The nine-acre roof structure is two inch thick mass panel plywood [MPP] manufactured by Freres Engineered Wood - in Lyons, Oregon.
The panels were made from burnt logs that Freres salvaged from forests it lost in the August 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. Freres salvaged about 194 million board feet of fire-killed trees from its land and adjacent private land. The fire started on national forest land in the nearby Opal Creek drainage.
The superstructure beneath these Freres MPP panels is Douglas-fir glulam manufactured by Zip-O Laminators in Eugene. Glulam is used in loadbearing frameworks like rafters, beams and columns. Cross laminated timber [CLT] looks similar but is used in walls and floors.
Architects see these three products as key to constructing wooden skyscrapers - and all three are manufactured from smaller diameter
trees - not old growth.
Be sure to study the Freres/Woodworks T-Core MPP carbon summary for Portland International Airport.
The next time you discuss climate change and natural resources - don’t forget to include:
- The benefits of wood use
- The value of salvaging fire-killed trees
- The effect of wildfire on carbon sequestration
- The need for proactive stewardship
- Our (human) intrinsic connection and inclusion in the natural world
Happy Earth Day!