I once heard a quote:
“If trees produced a WiFi signal, we’d plant them on every spare square metre of land we have...so it’s a shame they only produce oxygen”.
I don’t remember where the quote came from, so unfortunately I can’t give credit where it’s due. And I’m almost certainly paraphrasing/butchering the original delivery; but the message has always stuck with me.
I think it hits and sticks so well because it’s at first, funny. It’s meant as a joke. But then the realisation of how true it is seeps in, and then how haunting and scary it is that that’s where we are.
We’re all taught in school how important trees are, and learn in science about photosynthesis and how they convert CO2 into O2. So we know the role they play. And almost everyone I’ve ever met would agree that trees are beautiful. It’s one of the reasons so many families enjoy a walk in the woods.
On an individual level, I believe most people love trees. I don’t know anyone who supports deforestation. And I believe most people would support and advocate reforestation as a cause...yet, as a country and a planet, deforestation is a HUGE issue. On an individual level we would never want to contribute to this, however as a collective our consumption and our actions are still taking a massive toll.
Here’s some frightening facts about deforestation:
- It’s estimated that in 100yrs there will be no rainforests left.
- 1.5 acres of forest are cut down every second. Or about 36 football pitches a minute.
- 20% of our world's oxygen is produced in the Amazon forest.
- Almost half of the world's timber and up to 70% of paper is consumed by Europe, the United States and Japan alone.
- Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.
It’s frightening stuff.
Trees provide wonderful benefits to both us and the environment. Trees are the lungs of our cities, filtering out nasties and filtering out CO2 (providing vital support to combat climate change). They’re the homes for our wildlife, providing habitats and shelter both up high and down low. They’re our guardians against flooding, proven to reduce rainwater entering watercourses and in turn reducing the chances of rivers breaking their banks.
Basically, trees are vital to so many aspects of our life.
So what can we do to improve the current situation? Well, there are two basic solutions. Basic, but not easy. As they’re simple in their conception, and uncomplicated in their reasoning, but difficult to put into practice.
Ok, so let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, we are a company who uses a form of timber to produce our products (although bamboo is technically a grass, and the fastest growing one in the world at that). However, we do this because it is far more environmentally friendly to do so than to use a plastic toothbrush. Plastic versus timber, and the many benefits of bamboo could (and will!) be it’s own very long blog.
In the meantime, there are other things we can all be doing to reduce our usage. This can start with the basics, such as not printing unless necessary, using digital versions of media over printed forms, but even this can become difficult. Timber and paper are too ingrained in our world to avoid the use entirely. Instead, look to use sustainably sourced and recycled materials. You may have noticed a label “made from recycled paper” on your notebook. The same label can be found on many other daily use items like books, paper bags, egg packaging and even toilet paper.
By choosing items made from recycled paper, you make a conscious effort to lower the demand for more timber.
Besides decreasing the need to cut more trees, your purchase is also supporting paper recycling facilities and reducing the amount of waste entering landfills.
This one sounds tougher, but don’t worry, we’re not asking you to pick up a shovel and start planting (though we’re not discouraging that either…). It’s actually a lot easier to plant trees than you would think.
Thanks to charities around the world who are focussed on reforestation as a mission, many companies with eco-values are supporting these charities, and helping provide funding for more trees.
Here at Brushbox, we partner with the Eden Reforestation Projects. You can read more about their mission and their amazing work here. Eden Reforestation Projects reduce extreme poverty and help restore healthy forests by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees every year. And to date they have planted over 400million trees!
Through our partnership, we fund a tree for every bamboo brush we sell (plus many more initiatives through the year). We do this as part of our commitment to ensure we are responsible for more timber going into the ground, than is ever taken from it.
If you’re looking for other simple changes that support reforestation, you could even simply change your Search Engine. Ecosia is an internet search engine that plants trees for the searches made through it.
These are the little changes that can have a massive impact.
Thank you for reading this blog. We’d love to hear your favourite tips for reducing timber and paper use, and ways in which you support reforestation. The more small changes we make as individuals, the bigger impact we can have as a collective.