Why Knot: Call Over To The Other Side

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Words have the power to influence people. The statement, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” led to a revolutionary war. Or how about the statement “I have a dream,” which reinforced the civil rights movement.  What we say in the Hardwood industry might not be such a precise moment of truth and rally the country, but it is just as important to our well-being and future generations.   

Words also change over time. When I say, “it’s green,” do you think about the color, the fact that it is not kiln dried, or environmental benefits?  Your footprint, at one time meant your feet but now it means what is left by your car, company, and everything else in your life.  Words in the Hardwood industry have also changed.  Words we used to own, such as: sustainable, renewable, and natural are now applied to steel, concrete and plastic. Negative words we used to hate hearing from environmentalists: logging, cutting, harvesting, and climate change are now part of the answer not the problem.  Words we didn’t even know last century, such as: carbon sequestration and biophilic design, have popped up. 

I bought my wife a book, recommended by a friend, for her birthday last month. The book was about democracy in the U.S. today.  It was a national bestseller. It wasn’t balanced and was so blatantly political that she gave up after two chapters and skipped to the end. The end was worse than the beginning and she returned the book.  People hear what they want to hear.  Most want to hear that their views are correct, and their beliefs and perceptions are valid.  Very few want to listen to a balanced and neutral discussion of a point. 

Why is the forest industry trying to be neutral all the time? Why are we taking the corporate side of the argument when we are not neutral?  We win all discussions on environmental impact over other materials. Yet no one hears us telling it because we are telling it to ourselves.  We do not influence others because they do not listen to us. They are listening to the people who reaffirm what they already believe. They listen to people who say, “save trees, save biodiversity, save the environment, save nature,” or tell them to be green and lower their footprint by conserving energy and buying organic.  

If the footprint of logging and harvesting Hardwood trees for wood products is less than making alternative products, then shouldn’t we be recognized as the green solution for climate change? If the carbon sequestration in Hardwood lumber products is as sustainable as the carbon sequestration of the growing tree because the wood stays in service for decades as the new tree grows up in the old trees place, shouldn’t we be labeled organic? We save biodiversity, we save trees, we save the environment.

We don’t have a word problem. We have an audience problem.  We need to stop preaching to the choir and start talking to the environmentalists on the other side.  Either they believe what they preach, or they don’t. If they don’t, then we will out them as frauds and hypocrites. But for the few that want to walk the walk, we can affirm that Hardwood lumber is the solution to having a good life full of forests, animals, and a healthy society; ensuring that the next generation has a good life too.  We agree with the environmentalists that a healthy forest is necessary for our well-being and future generations. Why knot call over to the other side and let them know?

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