Science now confirms that growing and harvesting wood from carbon-absorbing trees under sustainable practices, is a natural way to create and accelerate substantial net carbon reductions.
And the use of wood products – as a substitute for more energy intensive building materials, reduces our carbon footprint – as wood naturally stores carbon indefinitely.
The practices that maintain healthy, managed forests for sustainable timber harvest also reduce the risk of mass carbon emission events such as catastrophic wildfires.
Washington’s forest products industry is Below Net Zero. While growing, managing, harvesting, transporting and manufacturing wood and paper products emits some greenhouse gasses, growing trees and using wood products store more carbon, reducing Washington’s carbon footprint by 12%. (Source: Global Warming Mitigating Role of Wood Products from Washington State’s Private Forests, University of Washington)
Healthy, growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, then store that carbon as tree biomass, or wood. When timber is harvested, the carbon stays in the wood, lumber and other timber products for their useful life.
Science now confirms that growing and harvesting wood under sustainable practices, and preferencing the use of wood products that we know store carbon indefinitely, is a natural way to create and accelerate substantial net carbon reductions.
Large, unmanaged, and unhealthy forestlands pose a greater risk of mass carbon emission events such as catastrophic wildfires and large-scale treefall in windstorms resulting in excessive, carbon-emitting decay and rot.
You’ll help reduce the use of fossil fuels in transport costs, as well as fuel to refrigerate food in transit when you buy local. Check your neighborhood farmer’s market to taste what’s in season this week. Mmmm, fresh-picked goodness.
According to multiple sources, the average American discards around 81 pounds of clothing a year. That’s a lot of sweatpants. This year, shop smart and you’ll have pieces to wear for years to come. And we’ll all have a lot less waste in our landfills.
Or walk, bike, whatever keeps your car off the road (and emissions out of the atmosphere). Even a day a week can help and it’s an easy way to work towards those 10,000 steps. Bonus: no stressful parking spot scavenger hunts!
“Vampire power,” (the sneaky power drain that occurs even when devices are powered down but plugged in) not only costs billions every year, it contributes to your carbon footprint, even if you’re not actively charging. Also, consider a laptop instead of a desktop for your next purchase and save even more energy.
Plant a tree! (We did it 52 million times last year.) Of course, you don’t need a lot of space to grow some green stuff. Even a pot on the back porch or balcony will do. Then, take a deep breath as you take in the oxygen your growing plants release, as they do their part to absorb carbon dioxide.
Simply turning that water heater down can save 500 pounds of CO2 a year. If you’ve never adjusted yours, it’s most likely set at 140 degrees. Which means, lowering the temp can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also your cost and most important, your risk of being scalded.
The trees that grow on the millions of acres of Washington’s working forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Then, when those trees become wood for a house or building, it takes the carbon with it—and keeps it out of our air—for the life of the wood products. Plus, wood products typically require less energy to manufacture than other building materials.