Wood and forest treatment crucial in fight against climate change – Marin Independent Journal

We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t waste, don’t want”. It simply means that if one does not waste, one will have more and one will not want.

Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported“The United Nations International Resource Panel has concluded that about half of global greenhouse gas emissions are the result of the extraction and processing of natural resources. And increasing recycling reduces the climate, environmental and social impacts of material use and keeps valuable resources in use rather than in landfills.

Today, people, especially our children, are asking for a global solution to fight global warming, while our energy consumption is on the rise worldwide and get ahead of renewable energies.

Meanwhile, our forests (including our urban forests) and our oceans, which offer the greatest capacity to fight global warming, continue to be exploited and compromised, becoming more unhealthy and deadly every day. With no “quick fix” in sight and no probability, there is no more time and energy to waste. Not a second, not a watt.

Here in Marin County, tons of circular resources (i.e. economic capacity) are wasted daily. These circular resources consist of all solid wood (sequestered carbon) from all mature trees felled in our communities, along our streets and on public and private property. Waste includes all wood and other reusable building materials from new construction, reconstruction and demolition.

Much of this lumber and lumber is ground into chips for ease of transportation, unloading, spreading, landfilling, or burning. All of this speeds up decomposition and produces more carbon dioxide as the sequestered carbon is allowed to return to the atmosphere.

This is the opposite of what we should be doing.

If we recovered all useful solid wood at its source and then put it to work, we would create many new “green” jobs, products made at sea, business opportunities and circular dollars, while saving tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for much longer.

The local ecological, economic and social benefits of our so-called “solid waste” far exceed any imported wood or wood product, and it is just as good and beautiful as any wood anywhere in the world.

We are more connected to trees and wood than we realize, and we need to care for and use these resources much better than we do today. The fight against global warming and deforestation in places like the Brazilian Amazon and the Southeast Asian rainforest starts here in Marin. Every tree put to work locally in Marin lessens the demand on these most important forests and their trees.

The people who will benefit most from this effort will be Marin’s many arborists, architects, builders, homeowners, haulers, artisans, arborists, sawyers, tailors, carpenters, laborers, handymen and climatologists. This new approach would also benefit all other people and businesses that serve these people in their work.

In 2016, the Marin Community Benefit Cooperative was certified by Zero Waste Marin to perform this essential community recovery and reuse work.

Unfortunately, at the time, MCBC lost its Creative Reuse Demonstration Center in downtown San Rafael and was forced to close before work could begin. I am now trying once again to begin this beneficial work by filing the co-op’s 501c3 non-profit application, as there are many great grants available for this very important work. Hurry up.

I invite you to join this community effort, even if it’s just for your love of trees and wood. Your participation and support in stopping the waste of the Marin (green) flyer is crucial. Its potential and capacity are important to the health of our community and the planet.

Bill Callahan, of San Rafael, is the founder of OHIAS (Our Health Is At Stake), Marin Community Benefit Cooperative, and Tamalpais NatureWorks. Learn more about MCBC at bit.ly/3ohr1Rh