Trashing the Old Growth Redwoods Again
I saw my third dumpster full of old growth redwood tonight. Large splintered boards of it. You cannot buy this stuff anymore. There are no more old growth redwoods to log anymore, anywhere, unless you mow down a few California parks. Redwood is extremely valuable lumber. It is pest and rot and fire resistant. This wood is priceless, and yet somehow in our economy it is cheaper to send it to the dump. How messed up is that? My 6 year old housemate and I dragged four long 2×4’s (real 2x4s) out of the dumpster and in less than an hour had completely de-nailed them. How can it not be worthwhile to pay someone to save this wood for reuse? There were also quality bricks in the dumpster — bricks the workman explained were also of a quality not cheaply found.
The San Francisco East Bay Hills had extensive redwoods in the creek valleys — probably the biggest in the world — until they were completely logged in the 1850’s. They cut down all the old trees, some 2000-3000 year old. They were magnificent. They cut them all down. Then they began heading north. They built houses with the clear, fine grained wood. The wood has aged in dry houses for 100 years or more. It remains a precious resource, not nearly as valuable as the living forest, but still a treasure.
It is environmentally sensible to care for and continue using these precious wood buildings we have in the Bay Area. Or if they must be changed, they should be carefully dismantled for reuse. It creates jobs and makes so much more sense than destroying far away forests and using petroleum with its carbon exhausts to ship lumber from far away. What will it take till the economy reflects true costs? There are a few heroic efforts to salvage construction materials from the waste flow — Urban Ore in Berkeley for instance — but far too much usable materials are still landfilled. If construction companies were responsible for the true costs of transporting, landfilling, and logging virgin wood, there would be thriving recycling businesses greatly limiting the wanton waste of a false economy.