|A collection of 27 individual species of Arkansas woods|
The story told by and through wood is of the interconnectedness of all life. In the hands of a caring craftsperson, that story is then preserved and passed through to new generations.
Woodworking can be done in such a way that the story of the forest is more clearly expressed and understood. In order to use my craftsmanship to better effect:
- I strive to use woods that are sustainably harvested from my local area and present them in their natural colors.
- I make use of natural edges and textures to enhance design.
- I attempt to use the technical and aesthetic properties of various woods to their best advantage in the work.
- I attempt to make useful work that will last for generations.
- In signing my work, I identify the types of woods used so that others may learn to recognize them and know their beauty, usefulness and value.
- I make certain that by-products (sawdust and scraps) of my work are recycled to best use.
- And through the creation of useful beauty, homage is offered to the spirit of the trees that have taken part.
Planting trees is a really feel-good-deal. If you don't have a spot to do it yourself, Global Releaf can help. If you have a need for some shade, you can get free trees by becoming a member of the National Arbor Day Foundation.
But there is no way to plant a true hardwood forest. Our existing hardwood forests are extremely complex eco-systems that we must preserve and protect. One of the best ways to protect our forests is to support the environmental organizations that focus on the protection of natural habitat. You might consider the National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, or the World Wildlife Fund.
Our forests are our most important line of defense against climate change. Human induced Global Warming has placed them at great risk. Rather than conserving energy and building new solar capacity, conventional utilities have been building “green energy” plants that are not truly green. These generation plants in Europe and the US burn pellets made from American hardwood forests that are assumed “renewable” even though it may take centuries for a forest to mature.
Chipper mills process thousands of acres of immature hardwoods each year. New mills have been built all across the Southeastern United States, and more are being planned. These mills convert hardwoods to pulp for paper mills and fuel pellets for export. While the industry touts their efficiency, the conversion of hardwood forest to pulp and pellets is a serious threat to those who have enjoyed working with these woods and who hope to leave a legacy of that work to future generations.
Woodworkers and those who have enjoyed the benefits of their craftsmanship look to a bleak future if the chipper mill expansion is not stopped. The Dogwood Alliance is an association of environmental organizations that is working to educate the public about the threat posed by chipper mills. I endorse the activities of the Dogwood Alliance and encourage your support.
The most important consideration for the future of our forests is the way we live now. We must learn to become more conservative and caring in our use of resources of all kinds. We must learn to look beyond surface effect and low price to seek quality, integrity, and meaning in the things we buy. It is also important to go out into nature and experience it and allow ourselves to become transformed by it.
The wood thrush that sings from the treetops on my eleven acres of woods has a winter home in forests of other nations far to the south. When she returns in the spring, her song brings relief. I am concerned for the world's forests and hope that together we can do more to protect them.
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