10 things you can do
- Plant a tree.
- Buy wooden products that have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.
- Buy recycled paper.
- Print double sided.
- Donate money to charities that plant trees.
- Write to companies that use palm oil in their products.
- Start a community wood.
- Write to your political representative asking for a ban on the import of illegally logged timber.
- Buy a grove of trees as a present for friends or relatives.
- Plant another tree!
Trees are critical to the ecosystem, they provide food and shelter to numerous mammals and insects. They take carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and store the carbon in the wood. So by planting trees you are ensuring that carbon is taken out of the air and therefore helping to combat climate change. You can either plant the tree yourself, or get a charity to plant it for you.
In order to be able to display the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo, the company must demonstrate that the wood that the object is made from comes from a woodland that is managed in a sustainable way.
The logo guarantees that the trees that are harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally, and that wildlife and the rights of indigenous people are protected. So, to ensure that the product you are buying is not directly responsible for illegal and environmentally detrimental logging practices, always look out for the FSC logo.
It's better to buy paper made from paper, rather than paper made from trees. The more recycled paper you buy, the less trees need to be cut down. Simple!
It also takes less energy (28 - 70% less) and generally less pollutants to create paper from paper rather from trees. See the paper recycling information sheet.
Better still try to print less!
If you must print things, print double sided.
If your printer properties will allow you, change the default setting on your printer to "doubled sided".
If your printer doesn't do double sided, you still can. Print all the "odd" pages first, then turn the paper over and print the "even" pages on the back - just make sure you know which way round to put the paper so that it reads properly when it's done.
If the IT department at your place of work controls the default print settings, start a campaign to get them to change the settings for everyone. If they need convincing and are not persuaded by the environmental aspects, work out how much less paper everyone will use, and therefore how much money it will save.
For various reasons, you may not be able to to plant trees yourself, so get someone to plant them for you. Why not set up a monthly direct debit to go some way to counter your day to day carbon emissions, then give larger donations each time you fly? (of course you should still try to decrease your carbon emissions and fly less).
There are some brilliant charities doing fantastic jobs, here are some of my favourites:
www.treeaid.org.uk This charity helps communities in Africa's drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant while improving the environment. All by planting and looking after trees. Truly inspiring.
www.treesforlife.org.uk are trying to restore the Caledonian forest up in the Scottish Highlands, it's kind of Scotland's equivalent to a rainforest, but much colder! They will plant a tree (or grove of trees) on your behalf.
www.woodland-trust.org.uk The Woodland Trust is probably the UK's largest woodland conservation charity. They'll plant trees for you, or why not join one of their working parties?
This one needs some explaining, please bear with me.
A lot of palm oil is grown in Malaysia and Indonesia. Palm oil is found in loads of pre-prepared foodstuffs. Check out the ingredients lists next time you are at the supermarket.
The global demand for this oil is cited as the most significant cause of rainforest loss in the Paradise rainforests of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. These are the rainforests that are home to Orangutans, elephants, Sumatran tigers, rhinoceros, hundreds of species of bird and thousands of plant species.
Cutting down this rainforest, putting these animals and this ecosystem on the brink of extinction for something that lets face it is oil and therefore fattening(!) is just madness.
Trying to boycott palm oil from non-sustainable sources is almost an impossible task. Palm oil is in about 1 in 10 supermarket products from chocolate to washing up liquid. So instead write to the companies and ask them to source the palm oil sustainably. If you need to know more, Google "palm oil rainforest" and read what you find.
Ahh, my mum (MBE) is involved in the community wood where she lives and it is great. Check out my mum's blog. Several times a year they all get together to plant trees, cut the grass or mulch the trees and eat soup!
The whole village is involved. Children in the local school learn about trees as they plant seeds, care for them as they grow and plant them in the wood. The whole village raises money for rabbit guards and spades. Everyone is happy that they creating a green wooded space for future generations to enjoy.
I'm going to see if I can start a community wood where I live too. Check out the Hadleigh Wood Blog to find out the latest news.
Illegal logging is the harvesting, transporting, processing, buying or selling of timber in violation of national laws. This definition also applies to harvesting wood from protected areas, exporting threatened plant/tree species, and falsifying official documents.
Timber that has been cut down illegally in the originating country, is exported by most countries including the UK. Buy importing the wood, we are encouraging people to break laws. Not to mention the whole cutting down trees thing!
Please right to your Member of Parliament (MP) or political representative in your country and tell them your concerns over this illegal practice. You know they only ever act if they think there's a vote in it. Go on, tell them what you think, you know you want to.
Okay, so some friends and relatives are probably not going to appreciate it preferring instead that new ipod or Robbie Williams CD, but there will be some who will love it. (That's not to imply that everyone who likes ipods or Robbie dislikes trees, I'm just saying that generally you get people what they want.)
Having said that, instead of sending Christmas cards to all your colleagues you could instead put the money towards a tree. See the charities that plant trees above.
Yep, it's a must. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Old Knobbley has lived for perhaps 800 years. The decisions we make today determine the next 800 years. Plant a tree, it can only help!