If we build products which have a long lifecycle like furniture or homs, Co2 stays bound in the form of 250 kilogram carbon per cubic meter wood. A family which decides to build a wood home takes about 20,000 kilogram carbon from the air.
The question is: does our modern consumer society cause these results and if so, do we have to put up with it? What are useful alternatives?
Our forests can be a part of our energy supply. The forest takes Co2 from the air and uses it as a building block to grow trees.
Burning one ton of oil releases 2.8 tons of Co2 waste into the air. This means the intense use of oil, gas and coal causes the rise of Co2 into the atmosphere and relates to all the associated risks as warming of the atmosphere.
As mentioned, the European energy supply relies on approximately 75 percent from non-renewable sources like oil, gas and coal and this has a decisive disadvantage: it threatens our environment and our health!
Let's make the most of this sacred cycle and live in harmony with nature. Conservation means appreciate and manage our forests appropriately in a loving and caring way.
Forests sustain us with energy and clean air
I wish for an avalanche of solar and low energy homes, of wood, hemp and many uses of natural materials for our future generations. Mothers buying toys and fathers building homes set this trend and their demands will reach the people responsible in the economic and politic echelons.
This process from tree to mulch is in perfect natural order and a very productive cycle. The sun's energy and the Co2 which is absorbed by the tree is released back into the atmosphere, when the tree is rotting.
The trees also provide for their own existence by supplying leaves and pine needles to the forest floor to produce enough mulch for the coming generations. Finally when the tree has fulfilled its need for procreation it leaves the same way as it came. Old tree giants collapse, break down and enrich the soil with nutrients for the next generation in which they live on.
By the time trees have grown from a seedling to a gigantic old tree and broken down, they have had decades of working out rankings with each other to establish their social position in the forest hierarchy. Animals and the whole forest community has been protected and nourished by them.
Once we understand how to tune into that huge natural energy current, we won't need to waste fossil fuels like oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy and nature can re-establish the natural balance of our earth.
What does it take for us to realize that our energy demand is tiny compared to these powerful natural processes. When will we recognize that nature's designs are the most economic and wholesome?
Every day the sun evaporates unimaginable amounts of water from the oceans into the atmosphere. This water returns as rain and fills creeks, lakes and rivers which lead it back to the oceans. The sun's power also causes air movements. Winds and storms could run all the machinery of this world. And the sun rises every day, what more could we want?
Every day nature re-grows millions of cubic meters of wood in the forests of our planet. Just in tiny Austria itself, every second grows one cubic meter of wood. A cubic meter is a cube which is one meter long, high and deep purely made of wood.
Planet earth became habitable millions of years ago when carbon from the atmosphere was being absorbed and stored in forests and turned into coal, oil and gas. The way we use fossil fuels today reverses this process and if we don't change, this direction will lead us to an inhospitable planet earth.
With energy produced from wood, hydro and wind power, we could cover a large part of our total energy demand in the medium and long run. Despite of this, the European energy supply still consists of approximately 75% of non-renewable energy like mineral oil, gas, coal.
Nature is reaching out, let's take her hand. We can observe natural energy cycles where one day's energy production contains a multiple of what we spend in a whole year. Solar energy used straight from the collectors could cover about 70-80% of our residential energy demand for hot water and heating.
Energy Cycles - by Franz Gillinger
We turn our back towards the sun
And mine coal in the mountains.
We turn our back towards the sun
And drill for oil.
We turn our backs toward the sun
And split atoms.
When will we turn around?
We are blessed to watch how our children's love for their Oma and Opa blossoming. When 'Brucker Nonna' tells a story gesticulating hands and feet, none of the grandchildren ever gets the idea to turn on the TV. - "Our Nonna is brilliant!" Enjoying these treasures in our everyday life fulfills us and we do not need shopping therapy to make us feel better.
I am thinking about the old forester Fritz Leoffler, who shared the secrets of the 'Karwendel Mountains' with me, when I was a young forester. I think about my grandma, who always stood behind my wife and me and encouraged us to stay on the path we had chosen when we were a young couple. She also taught us to not take ourselves too seriously. Having been happily married for 60 years, she certainly was a great role model.
Often it is the old and wise people which help us open our eyes to new worlds. I experienced this for the first time when I was practicing on the wooden stilts my granddad built for me. I remember our old neighbor who always was there with a helping hand; particularly at those difficult times after our dad died a much too early death.
Craftsmanship and natural materials produce lasting products which give more and longer enjoyment than synthetic consumer articles can ever do. Lasting quality is the true measure of the green movement.
I hope we all find lifelong enjoyment and the careful and enthusiastic handling of precious materials which nature presents us with is the first step in this direction.
While writing this, I am sitting on an old but very comfortable chair that our granddad built with his simple hand tools. The furniture he created is still adding value to us and his great grandchildren. I look at the hardwood floors and known that these floors are going to be walked on by future generations.
Climate change, mega traffic congestions, diseases and allergies which were unknown to our grandparent's generation are showing us the limits of progress today. Now we have a great opportunity and the task to refocus on a lifestyle which will serve man and nature. In the end, we will be proud and fulfilled with our work.
And yes, we are hearing the wakeup call now. News of lethal accidents like the catastrophe of Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima... have rocked the trust in scientific and technical progress.
Resulting health issues like allergies, asthma and damage to our genes are only part of the world our children grow into. Toxic waste dumps here and in third world countries where our waste ends up, cause even more harm. A disposable society which creates this amount of garbage is most likely to lose interest and joy in work and life.