Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old Pill recycling

It can be done in SF, why can't we do it here in San Jose?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Forest Management for Global Cooling

I keep getting these great datapoints sent from the guy I bought my garden furniture from. All I can say, if you plan on buying wood furniture, get it from him.

Dear Stefan,

Everyone is green these days. Even the giant oil companies are flooding the airwaves with green marketing campaigns. It sounds promising and many positive things seem to be taking shape in response to the climate challenge. But, if you look closely, much of it is less than it seems.

For example, forestry is at the center of the climate change equation. Forests sequester enormous amounts of carbon. The larger the trees are in a forest, the more carbon is held per acre.

Since the early 1990's, a fast-growing "Sustainable forestry" worldwide movement has been making positive inroads. A handful of organizations now "certify" many millions of acres of forestland as "sustainably harvested". Standards vary, but, certification requires overall improvements in forestry practices away from the old "industrial models". Sustainable forestry is helping many forests around the world reverse degradation and in some cases rehabilitate deteriorated stands to a limited degree.

Unfortunately, if you study the numbers, its clear even the most stringent sustainable forestry standards will have only a modest impact in the climate change equation. Climate cooling carbon sequestration numbers are easy to calculate for any parcel of forestland. For example, in California's Redwood forest, several large forestland owners are certified sustainable. These sustainably harvested forests are harvested at approximately 20% of the standing timber volume per decade. An average quality young stand of Redwoods adds about 30 to 35% per decade in net new wood volume. As it ages, this rate of growth slows. If cut at 20% per decade, the young stand will add a modest amount of net volume for a few decades and then level out. The forest will then be maintained as a healthy and robust stand of trees of average size with few if any large or old trees.

If, on the other hand, the rate of cut is limited to 10% in any one decade, the forest will retain more than 3 times the wood volume per acre over the coming century than if "sustainably harvested" at 20% per decade. Forestland managed at this more conservative rate will grow ancient trees again over time and make a large contribution to global cooling. This is the central tenant in "Restoration Forestry".

We are Old-Growth Again Restoration Forestry. Our mission is to fully restore the volume and productivity of our forestlands and bring back the big trees. Parklands are lovely and necessary, but we can't turn all the forests of the world into parklands because the cost would be exorbitant. Restoration forestry allows you to cut conservatively while also bringing back the large ancient trees. In our 14th year, our forests are a testament to what can be accomplished. Your furniture purchases through the years fund the hard work.

To read more about our forestry practices, please go to:


As always, comments and questions are welcomed. Thank you for your continuing support.

For the woods, from the woods,

Raul Hernandez
Forever Redwood from Old-Growth Again Restoration Forestry
33800 Annapolis Rd. Annapolis, CA 95412 866-332-2403/707-495-4955
Restoring logged forests back to Old-Growth Again. Forever Redwood furniture sales fund the restoration.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SBA Class - 1st Day

This is my capture of the 1st day of class:

This is the 2nd day:

Speech - why do I want a Sustainable home

A speech I gave at the Toastmaster club:
Topic: Why do I want to build a sustainable home.

Opening statement:
Do you want to spend the time you spend indoors in a place 2-1000 times more toxic than outdoors in downtown LA?
Can we afford to take away the trees we love and need?

I say NO to both of these questions. I want to make my points clear to you in the following few minutes.
A few words to the actual problem followed by respective solutions.

Example 1: VOCs are bad for our bodies. We surround ourself with them all the time, voluntarily.
A new IKEA kitchen cabinet emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are considered toxic for humans. To give you an Idea of the magnitude of VOCs being produced and handed to us I want to use this example. The wood furniture industry uses 2X the amount of VOCs than the Automotive industry. We spend a lot more time in our homes than our car.
The paint we put on our walls contains VOCs. The EPA puts paint in the top 5 environmental hazards. Paint can make the air you breath toxic.

Close VOC:
These VOCs are harmful to our bodies, the more we inhale them, the more likely we are to get sick, get allergies, feel weak, get cancer, …. and more.

Example 2:
The next point I am trying to make is about energy used to build a home.
Most of the energy required to build a home is consumed during the production of the materials for the home. The sheet rock production, tree growing and lumber milling, transportation to the store and end consumer uses a lot of the energy. It is very important to select the right materials to build your house from. Let's take the Sheet rock example. Drywall production consumes almost 1% of all U.S. industrial energy consumption. One of the new products "EcoRock®" low-energy drywall uses virtually zero energy in their core, resulting in zero CO2 emissions production.
Close Energy:
We need to choose the type of house construction wisely, need to choose the type of material we use to build our home whisely to minimize the energy that is consumed during its production.
Concrete frame constructions use 17% more energy than wood frame constructions.


Example 3:
We cannot grow forests fast enough to satisfy the housing construction market. One average US house (2300sq ft up from 1400sq ft 1970) requires 24 trees to grow for 34 years (0.5m trunk, 12m tall), we are building 1.8 million homes every year. ==> 43 Million trees a year for the US home construction alone.
Close Trees:
Straw bale homes are almost entirely made from a farming byproduct and therefore much more energy saving ==> sustainable.

Closing statement:
We need to give our children a world they have the chance to succeed in, live in and raise their children in. Using the energy we have wisely, using the resources we have responsibly is not an option, it is a must to be able to look our next generation straight in the eyes.
We do not allow torture in our prisons, why would we torture ourself by living in homes 2-1000 times more toxic than downtown LA?

Sustainable homes are not really an option, we must move our housing market into this direction.

Here are link to websites informing more about the subjects touched on in this presentation.



Tree data:

I also figure that 10,000 board feet could be obtained from two trees that are 51 inches across and 76 feet long, or 24 trees that are 17" across and 35' long, or 100 trees that are 8.5" wide and 20' long. It would take about 110 years to grow two of the large trees, 34 years to grow 24 of the mid-sized trees, and 17 years to grow 100 of the small trees. http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/newton/askasci/1995/environ/ENV144.HTM
1.8 milion homes built every year, since 30 years.

http://uwnews.org/art icle.asp?articleid=5360

Monday, September 8, 2008

Forest Management and Fires

I got a reminding e-mail from a furniture supplier I used 2 years ago, his name is Raul.
He uses what I want to call responsible and working Forest management techniques.
Here is a link to the core techniques he applies to his own forest.
Each summer and fall the fire season explodes and the news is filled with stories of burning
homes and thousands of brave men and women fighting fires and risking
their lives protecting communities. It's a giant annual event and its getting worse. In July 2008, lightning storms ignited thousands of fires in California that burned for weeks. The losses and cost to contain them were staggering. The real calamity in all this is that it is mostly an avoidable disaster. It really doesn't have to be this way.

Forest fires are a vital and natural part of all western forests. The fires regenerate and balance countless biological processes. For example, some vegetation has been recorded as extinct in areas where fires were suppressed only to reappear after a fire!

The probability an average fire will grow to be a catastrophic fire is multiplied when forestlands are poorly managed. Most of the forests of the west today are young and overgrown. Hot, highly destructive fires feed on the excessive lower limbs, downed woody debris and the suppressed and dying trees of mostly young forests.

A labor-intensive program of thinning suppressed trees and lower limbs of standing trees combined with lopping and scattering the excessive woody debris lowers this dangerous fuel level. Lower fuel levels limit the opportunities for a normal fire to become a devouring dragon.

Thinning is central to the Restoration forestry we've been practicing since 1995. Thinning mimics many beneficial effects of mild fires and is a proven proactive solution to the growing fire catastrophies we have in the western United States. As our work grows over the years, we hope to make a significant contribution to fire hazard reduction in our neck of the woods.

To learn more about thinning, fire hazard reduction and basic restoration forestry practices that are applicable to forests anywhere, please visit our forest restoration page at: http://www.oldgrowthagain.com/sustainable.html

As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Call or email anytime.

Thank you for your continuing support,

Raul Hernandez, CEO
Forever Redwood from Old-Growth Again Restoration Forestry
33800 Annapolis Road Annapolis, CA 95412