Redwoods and sustainability

One of my recent temporary jobs had me in and around a good portion of the metro area this spring and summer and every time I drove by one I had to shake my head a little, so I’m deciding to address them; Redwood playsets and Redwood in general.

Yes those playsets are the hallmark of doting parents that can provide a little jungle gym for their children to interact with for about, and I’m open to comment on this, 6 years. Or considering consecutive litters using these playsets could up it to a maximum of 10-12 years, (you can imagine my enthusiasm when the Obama’s decided to install a redwood playset at the Whitehouse).

Perhaps it stems from my time in the Pacific Northwest among the Redwoods and especially that spent in and around Humboldt County in Trinidad and Kneeland, but I have a hard time seeing the wisdom in any use of Redwoods. It’s hard to instill into someone yet to visit them how massive these trees are and how imposing they are on the area, even with there being less than 5% of historic level of the Giant Sequoia remaining.
Watching the winds coming inland off the ocean, misting about the treetops and then ending up as clouds further inland is an impressive first hand experience of that sustaining cycle of nature, and imagining how much of an effect on the ecosystem these trees, nearly 2000% greater in number would have before they were logged is astonishing.

Considering how much of an impact these trees play on the ecosystem, how many have been logged already, and how large and old these trees are able to grow to makes logging any of them seem unwise, especially in light of the fact that the largest demand for Redwoods comes from kids playsets, specifically Rainbow playsystems.

Essentially we are cutting down the trees that could benefit your grandchildren’s grandchildren and all the generations in between to make a temporary jungle gym for the next six years.
There are plenty of other alternative materials that would seem fit to construct a playset out of; steel (high recycled content), composite wood (high recycled content), recycled plastics (landfill diverted) and probably a few more. So the next time you see one of these advertised as ‘green’ at a home and garden show or on a manufacturers website think about what is being sacrificed.

Next article, FSC endorses redwoods?

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