@blueplanetlover: You are obviously thoughtful, and I appreciate you reading my article. However, I believe that in your passion to explain your point, you made some assumptions that were simply incorrect.
- You make an interesting point about carbon, and it is one that in my 10 years as a sustainability strategy consultant, I've researched extensively. When considering carbon, we must talk full life cycle. Taking wood from the bottom of a lake is incredibly disruptive to the lake bed habitat. The Great Lakes also harbor a significant amount of pollution in their lake beds, which is re-introduced to fish and swimmers when the lake bed is disturbed. Additionally, the fossil fuels required to run the tree dredging operation alone (forget the drying kilns and cutting machinery) far outweigh the hand tools we use to disassemble disused boats.
At your suggestion, if my Brooklyn based company bought submerged wood from the Great Lakes, we would need it delivered to Brooklyn. A truck would use about 54 gallons of fuel at 15mpg (808 mile round trip) to delivery perhaps two full logs to my shop (enough for about 50 pieces of furniture). By comparison, the Emma Mearsk container ship would use about 400,000 gallons of fuel to bring 11,000 containers of product from Indonesia to New York, which breaks down to only 36.4 gallons of fuel per 40' container full of over 250 pieces of furniture. With this in mind, I challenge your assumption that "local" is unquestionably better.
Finally, our workshop in Indonesia uses no air conditioning, no heating and almost no lighting, and is nestled into a treed landscape. Natural ventilation takes place due to open louvers near the roof space, creating a temperate climate zone in a tropical environment. Regarding lighting, the day starts after the sun rises and ends before the sun sets. It is an impressively sustainable operation by design.
- Regarding your point on local production, I feel lucky to be able to say that Aellon is now a global company. I sell to customers around the world. So, even if my products were local to your house, they would not be local to a customer in Argentina or Spain.
- I’m glad to hear you know about violin design. I play both the violin and mandolin and appreciate their craftsmanship as much as you, I'm sure. However, it is awfully difficult to have a dinner party on a violin. I also play guitar. And while they are just as beautiful (and slightly bigger, so easier to eat off of), they are also part of the reason why Brazilian Rosewood is nearly extinct.
- Your statement about "the locals appreciating the firewood just as much" is unnecessarily snarky. My business partner and Australian friend spent a long time speaking with the ship's captain and the village chief before we made the decision to purchase the boat. You should be more careful about falling into the unhelpful role of "eco-snob" when making comments. Please ask before assuming.
In conclusion, I strongly believe that if one’s underlying intention is to do good in the world, that the net effect is positive across the board. If more people would take that initiative in business and life (and when writing messages on articles), the world may be a much more thoughtful, happy place.