Greenwashed Plywood


Lovers of the Rainforest: Sponsor Stele Ely to write a song for the world’s virgin forest’s being killed by the plywood industry.

Extra: Read Stele’s article about Henrique Oliveira’s artwork using Sao Paulo / Brazillian plywood below.

Musicians that love the rainforest: Help me write and record song or do your own!

Titles: “What Wood You Use” and “Green Washing A Piece Of Virgin Plywood”

Using sustainable plywood and timber for construction
Quote: Demand for tropical hardwood plywood in the UK and internationally is one of the main causes of illegal and destructive logging in the rainforests of countries such as Brazil and Indonesia. This deforestation is causing the loss of biodiversity, displacing local communities and contributing to climate change.

There are no laws yet in place to prevent illegal timber from entering Europe. As a result, large quantities of illegally logged timber still make their way into the UK. The construction industry is the biggest consumer of timber in the country which is why it is vital for contractors, architects and builders to source timber from environmentally and socially responsible sources such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

If you are specifying timber for a construction project, you can help prevent rainforest destruction by following simple guidelines that we have outlined below.

Plywood audit after Greenpeace protest : July 27, 2011

An audit will be conducted on timber being used on a high-profile Sydney CBD development following a protest by environmentalists.

Seven Greenpeace activists climbed a 50-metre crane at the Central Park development site on Broadway, Chippendale, at 7am today and unfurled a large banner reading “Stop Illegal Timber”.

They were protesting against the use of plywood allegedly made from trees illegally cut down in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo and calling on the federal government to ban illegal timber products.

‘Greenest’ Sydney building using rainforest timber

One of Sydney’s “greenest” new building developments – No.1 Central Park on Broadway – is using rainforest timber logged in Malaysia, putting its advertised “five green star” rating at risk.

Seven protesters from Greenpeace were arrested this morning after climbing a 50-metre crane at the building site and unfurling a banner saying “Stop Illegal Timber”.

Tonnes of plywood from a mill in Sarawak, Malaysia, are being used to help build the concrete foundations of the complex, which developer Frasers Property said would “achieve the highest possible environmental rating for the entire precinct”.

Avoiding Unsustainable Rainforest Wood
Quote: Rainforest Relief has been focused on reducing the imports of tropical woods into the US since we started the group in 1989.

We have grown to become the leading US organization working to prevent the use of tropical hardwoods by US governments, corporations and individuals. To date, we have prevented the use of 11 million board feet of imminent or proposed dimensional tropical hardwoods as well as hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of plywood and tens of thousands of pieces of furniture made of rainforest wood (see our Successes).

The destruction of tropical forests is generating the largest mass extinction on Earth since an asteroid struck Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs and 75% of all life on the planet. It is estimated that the current mass extinction — perpetrated by one species, Homo sapiens sapiens — is occurring at a faster rate than that which followed that cataclysm.

Greenpeace Pleas For Ethical Plywood
Quote: A new Greenpeace report has illustrated how the construction industry can have a positive influence on the management practices in forests around the world.

The report, entitled ‘Setting a new standard: alternatives to unsustainable plywood in the UK construction industry’, is a practical guide for companies wanting to avoiding the use of illegal plywood on construction sites.

It not only provides a step-by-step guide to ensure companies get it right on timber but also promotes the use of environmentally and socially responsible material such as that certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Greenpeace has published the report as it feels – despite the best efforts of some construction companies – the vast majority of the sector continues to use illegal and unsustainable timber.

Green Washing a Piece of Virgin Plywood? by Stele Ely

Article based on Henrique Oliveira’s artwork and this TreeHugger article by Kimberley Mok:
Artist Builds Huge Twisting Structures Using Only Recycled Plywood Shavings (Photos)

If Henrique Oliveira is shipping his plywood all the way from Sao Paulo’s high-rise or sprawl projects that are using their cheaply procured virgin plywood like toilet paper, could more of the focus on his work be on the plywood industry’s nasty and heartless use of illegal and unsustainable timber – in Brazil and beyond.

How much of Henrique Oliveira’s Brazilian plywood is made from virgin forest wood from the Amazon rainforest? Hopefully it was plywood made from wood that was certified as sustainably harvested. However, Greenpeace has released the report that talks about the plywood sector’s global use of illegal and unsustainable timber. The World Wildlife Fund says illegal and unsustainable logging is a key driver of forest destruction and contributes up to one
fifth of global carbon dioxide emissions.

I also hope this “reused” industrial plywood turned art is not contaminated by with industrial construction chemicals at the job sites, or made with poisonous glues and paints. If this plywood is a bit toxic, we art lovers and the curators may be paying an un-healthy price for our ecological naivety.

Although Sao Paulo is a city celebrated for its ultra polluted air, Sao Paulo environmental sloppiness is also fast and furiously helping slay our global climate and crucial ecosystems. Some of Henrique’s beautiful plywood with a beautiful wood grain was probably used to make the unsustainable concrete and steel buildings, and unsustainable sprawl being thrown up by the big money and greedy factions of Sao Paulo.

If Henrique Oliveira’s art is made was industrial quality plywood intended to be chucked in the trash anyway, I think that’s wrong too. Construction businesses should not be allowed to abuse our world’s forests that way. Plywood treated kindly and preciously can last for decades, so the degree to which this beautiful plywood was “old” and “disposable” is another question.

I talked to Henrique Oliveira in Boulder, Colorado and he confirmed that he does ship his “oldish” plywood all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil to the US.

So, if Henrique Oliveira continues to ship his wood from Sao Paulo’s high-rise or sprawl construction projects that are using cheaply procured virgin plywood like toilet paper, then maybe the focus of his work can be on the plywood industry’s nasty and heartless use of illegal and unsustainable timber – in Brazil and beyond.

If Henrique Oliveira does not want to help us tell the whole story behind Brazilian lumber industry and blood plywood that is destroying the virgin Amazon rainforest where so many animals and peoples have thrived for millennia, then I ask him to find his “old” plywood in our cities where he is doing his art. Then Henrique, tell us the story of our plywood.

Excerpt from TreeHugger article by Kimberley Mok:
It’s difficult to imagine the equating of weathered construction plywood with a painter’s brush stroke, but that what Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira does with his impressive three-dimensional sculptures made entirely out of layers upon layers of pieces of peeled, old plywood, collected from various construction sites around Sao Paulo.

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