Wood in a sustainable culture April 08 2012
Forests are the lungs of the planet. Trees absorb and transform large quantities of CO2 with the help of the chlorophyl in the leaves and the sun’s energy into a variety of sugars. Those sugars are the basis for a large number of compounds that are the building blocks of the cellular structure of the wood and its protective bark. Forests have a major impact on the earth’s climate and the deforestation in the first millenium in favour of agricultural land is by some researchers credited for the fact that we are avoiding a minor ice-age in our times. Now that a major increase of CO2 is changing the earth’s climate, it is important to capture as much of that carbon as possible. While some are considering large filters, chemical reactions etc. The most obvious one is to grow as much forests as possible and to use wisely the materials they produce. To ban or to reduce the use of wood dramatically is not a recommended use of the resource because every alternative is more polluting. We all have to aim at a fair balance between the total growth of trees per year and the yearly harvesting of trees. Right now, forestation on the planet increases far beyond the harvesting, but the reason behind this forestation is the growing migrations of people from the countryside to the world’s cities. The increase in population in the world’s cities is according to the United Nations around 1.5 million people a week. But to abandon agricultural land and to leave it to neglect and reforestation will not regenerate the kind of forests that were cut to produce agricultural land. As has been said: “ We started to play God, so we better become good at it”. So, to plan reforestation and to manage these forests within the rules of protective diversity will not only contribute to the reduction of CO2, it will also provide us with materials that replace many other construction materials that are far less environmentally friendly. A concrete building that produces 100 tons of CO2 would actually have absorbed 180 tons of the climate changing greenhouse gases if the same building was made out of wood. Mope is an insignificant player in this global problem, but we believe that the contribution of everyone is needed to keep a lid on this growing problem, so we designed a system that allows anyone to build simple, adequate furniture with a minimal use of wood by using its strength and stiffness and light weight to the maximum. Originally we designed it as a connecting system that would allow anybody to re-use whatever plywood material she or he would want to use, from old billboards to crating materials. But we also realised that a product has to be used to its full potential and that some of us are not as handy as others (one of the designers is representative for that last group). While considering the needs of those users by providing the complete system including the panels, we knew that anything but certified material would not be consistant with what Mope wants to achieve. We still favour the re-use of existing material. Anything that can keep wood from decay or burning, the two processes that return the original CO2 to the atmosphere, should be preferred over any other solution. In doing so, we try to serve you, the user and the environment in the only way we learned from previous generations: with respect.