How ‘GREEN’ is it – REALLY

Every day now, I hear and see people throwing around the word “Green” like they have found a new faith in salvation.  Many of the ideas are great – we do need to conserve our resources and protect our earth – obviously.  But, how many of  these ideas are actually implemented, are too often just too goofy.

Tests of how ‘Green’ it is….  REALLY?

  1. Step back and look at this from a good distance – on a global scale - is this really responsible?  (does the project use way more than it’s share of earth resources) ((This nixes most claims!))
  2. How complex is it?  Is the machinery super hi-tech, with a short life span - needing lots of maintenance along the way?  How long does it take to break-even?
  3. How efficient is it?  Are the resource inputs high – eliminating a large percentage of the perceived benefits?  (making ethanol from corn grain vs wood chips!)
  4. How much manufacturing went into this product – does the finished merchandize look anything like the starting natural resource?  How many chemicals were used to transform and harden the stuff – for example Bamboo and Cork flooring???
  5. Does the project involve a lot of travel and shipping?
  6. Were the workers paid a fair wage for their work?
  7. Does it offer an excuse for excess?  Do you feel less guilty about your gluttony?

My specialty is wood products. 

  1. If the wood specified is just the best parts of the best tree in the forest – (wide clear boards...) – no way is it ‘Green’!  Sustainable wood products must be representative of all the wood that comes from a timber harvest.
  2. Did the local community benefit from the timber harvest, or just a large corporation?
  3. Was the forest owner paid a fair and profitable income for the timber?
  4. Manufactured Cork and Bamboo flooring may be ‘Green’ compared to traditional wood flooring that comes from exploitive harvests or clearing of the Rainforest – but not compared to locally grown and manufactured natural wood flooring.

At Timbergreen Farm;
*  We harvest just the natural output of our forest – no attention is given to any perceived market demand.  An average of one tree per acre can be used each year, and that is harvested with arthroscopic precision – the forest is improved with each harvest.  All usable parts of the tree are utilized.
*  Our logs are hauled an average of one/half mile to the sawmill.
*  We dry our lumber using free solar energy to heat our kilns.
*  We manufacture our products in a 100 year old renovated Dairy Barn.
*  We deliver our wood to the customer as we drive to work.

Does a little Green-washing make something ‘GREEN’?
A thin layer of green paint can hide a putrid box of sludge.


GREEN’ should fit in to the local landscape – logically and in reasonable proportion.
GREEN’ should work with nature and enhance the future of the EARTH – REALLY!


“Why is it that conservation is so rarely practiced
by those who must extract a living from the land? 
It is said to boil down, in the last analysis, to economic obstacles. 

Take forestry as an example:
the lumberman says he will crop(manage) his timber
when stumpage values rise high enough,
and when wood substitutes quit underselling him. 
He said this decades ago.
Forest devastation goes on as before. 

What to do?   I think we should seek some organic remedy—
something that works from the inside of the economic structure.

We have learned to use our votes and our dollars for conservation.
Must we perhaps us our purchasing power also?
If exploitation-lumber and forestry-lumber were each labeled as such,
would we prefer to buy the conservation product? 

The trouble is that we have developed,
along with our skill in the exploitation of land,
a prodigious skill in false advertising. 
I do not want to be told by advertisers that is a conservation product. 
The only alternative is consumer-discrimination....”

 The Round River, from the journals of Aldo Leopold  - 1948

The Discriminating Customer Must Know if Something is Really ‘Green’ –
are you going to trust some advertiser?


Kermit's Thoughts on Green