Deforestation Fact: Mature Trees Are Better for the Environment

Deforestation Fact: Mature Trees Are Better for the Environment

It has long been understood that forests are one of the most essential environmental elements to keeping CO2 in balance in our atmosphere. Covering almost a third of the planet’s surface, forests are the “lungs of the planet”, pulling carbon dioxide out of the air and returning oxygen to it. “A single mature, leafy tree is estimated to produce a day’s supply of oxygen for anywhere from two to 10 people.” Russell McLendon, Mother Nature Network For this reason, deforestation caused by humans has been a central topic for protecting the environment and our climate. While the global forest cover has seen an uptick since the early 1980s, this is due to more tree growth in the “extratropics” than was possible in the past as these areas were too cold, even while we are seeing historic loss in tropical regions. With this understanding, there has been a lot of focus recently on the impact of trees and forests, and how reforestation could be key to mitigating accelerated climate change. That focus, however, relies on planting new trees which are immature and require time to grow before they can achieve the desired result. In a recent interview with Yale 360, William Moomaw (Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy at Tufts University) shared important new findings about the benefit of mature versus young trees for the emergent climate crisis. “We’ve seen a lot of interest lately in planting more trees. And planting trees is great and it makes us all feel good and it’s a wonderful thing to do and we absolutely should be reforesting areas that have been cut. A...
Protecting Pandas: Facts About Their Habitat and Moso Bamboo

Protecting Pandas: Facts About Their Habitat and Moso Bamboo

We often get asked about whether our bamboo furniture is part of the decline in panda habitat, declining food sources, and their endangerment. Proudly, we can say, “No, it is not.” Here’s why: Fact 1: Not All Types of Bamboo are Eaten by Pandas When most of us think of pandas, the image of one happily eating bamboo comes to mind. Bamboo is the main food source for Giant Pandas. Bamboo is “99 percent of their food—one reason they are relatively low-energy animals. To derive enough nutrients, pandas eat 20 to 40 pounds of plant material a day.” [source: National Geographic] There are many different types of bamboo, however, and not all of it is eaten by pandas. “Pandas like eating arrow bamboo, black bamboo, and ‘water bamboo’, along with about 20 other species.”  Greenington’s products are made of Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens), which is not one of the types of bamboo that pandas eat and live in.   Fact 2: Location Matters While they used to live “throughout southern and eastern China, as well as neighboring Myanmar and northern Vietnam… most of the remaining wild pandas now live in the Minshan and Qinling mountains” in South Central China. Moso bamboo – the only kind we use in our products – grows in the lower elevations, far from panda mountain habitat. Pandas neither eat it nor use it for making their homes.   Fact 3: Certified Safe While we are grateful to know pandas were deemed no longer endangered in 2016, they are far from in the clear as a species; industrialization and hunting/poaching continue to threaten their survival. As...
5 Simple and Effective Ways to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Your Home

5 Simple and Effective Ways to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Your Home

With the increasing awareness of personal impact on the environment, more and more people are paying attention to their “footprint” – the effect their lifestyle and choices have on the planet. There are many aspects to everyone’s overall footprint (food, transportation, etc.) and one of the most important ones is how we keep our homes. While no one person can overcome the ecological challenges our world is facing, everyone can make choices that will reduce their footprint and contribute to the larger movement of responsible and sustainable living. Here are 5 ways everyone can reduce the ecological footprint of their home: 1. Reduce your overall energy usage. From the insulation in your home to the electricity used to power it, energy usage is the number one way everyone can reduce their overall impact. Steps you can take: Ensure your home is well insulated and you’ve closed any gaps where “energy leaks” can compromise the heating/cooling of your home. Set your thermostat a couple degrees lower in winter and higher in summer to use less heating or AC over the year. (monitor and manage your usage with smart thermostats like Nest) Use energy efficient appliances and lamps, unplug devices not in use, or use smart home devices to manage electronics (such as Google Home). 2. Limit toxic products you use. Many home items (cleaning products, paint, etc.) are made with toxic chemicals that contribute to ill environmental effects during production and in usage. Steps you can take: Read the labels on the products you are buying and do a quick Internet search on their level of toxicity before you buy. Ask...
The Environmental Benefits of Bamboo Furniture

The Environmental Benefits of Bamboo Furniture

For most of history, furniture has been made from a variety of hardwoods that come from trees and forests around the world. While formerly in abundance, as time has shown, the energy it takes to grow and maintain hardwood forests is a major factor in the increasing negative impact humans are having on our planet’s climate. As scientists look at how to reverse this impact, the need to restore the balance of the plant/CO2/oxygen relationship in our atmosphere has become a central focus for many.  In recent decades, people around the world have been looking for better alternatives to wood to have more sustainable and responsible choices in the furniture they buy and live with. A closer look at bamboo has revealed it to be one of civilization’s best options for reducing carbon emissions worldwide. “‘This is a truly remarkable plant,’ said Director General of INBAR Dr. Hans Friederich, encouraging the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to explicitly recognize bamboo as a strategic resource in combating climate change…” (source) With over 20 years in creating high-quality bamboo products, Greenington’s founder, Yang Lin, knew the benefits and potential uses of bamboo were exactly what the furniture market was looking for in sustainable living.  Why Bamboo? The short answer: it’s a grass, not a tree. This means it grows faster and with more benefits to the environment than any hardwood around the world: As a species, bamboo is fast growing; returning to full maturity in less than 5 years. As a plant, bamboo requires minimal water to grow and no additional chemicals to cultivate. As a part of...
Eco-Friendly Furniture Companies: How Does Greenington Measure Up?

Eco-Friendly Furniture Companies: How Does Greenington Measure Up?

As people become more aware of the environmental impact of their everyday choices, it is becoming more important to purchase home furniture that not only reflects their personal style, but is also part of caring for the planet. Most people want to live in beautiful homes that don’t harm the beauty of the world around us.  With this growing awareness, there are more considerations for home furniture shoppers to consider beyond style, quality, color, size, and the myriad other factors as they look for that perfect item for their home. Where to begin? When looking for eco-friendly furniture, buyers should consider the following factors: Source Materials: how low is the impact of the materials used. Are they renewable, recyclable, nontoxic? Method of Production: how much pollution does the processing of the source materials create? What is the carbon footprint of the manufacturing? Ethical Work Practices: how does the company treat its workers? Are working conditions humane and free of child labor? Are workers paid fair wages? Transportation of Item: how far does the product have to travel to reach its end destination? What methods are used to get it there? Life of the Item: is it built to last? The more durable, the less it will need to be replaced. Once at the end of its life, are the materials reusable, recyclable, and/or biodegradable? Certifications: have the company and its products been reviewed and certified as sustainable by independent, third-party organizations? So how does Greenington measure up to these standards as a company? Being headquartered in the eco-conscious Pacific Northwest, our company ethic is centered on caring for and...

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