The Flooring Industry and Environmental Damage

The world is shifting every year toward being more environmentally conscious and protective. Regardless of where you live, it is important to be a global citizen, aware of how your consumer behaviors impact the environment. A project that may be simple, such as adding new flooring to your home or building, has the power to contribute positively or negatively to the planet. Here is how the flooring industry has had major effects on flooding in Southeast Asia.

The flooring industry is closely linked to the environment. Wood flooring is one of the most popular elements to renovations and new construction. Wood is also a potentially renewable resource, which is positive. However, in order for wood to be renewable, the process of acquiring wood from forests needs to be responsible and sustainable.

Unfortunately, many groups and regions that participate in the lumber industry do not follow these sustainable practices. Deforestation can be done in multiple ways. When it is done with the environment in mind, it is done slowly, strategically, retaining some of the trees in a region while removing others. This type of tree harvesting simulates natural deforestation which has been occurring in nature for thousands of years. For example, when a thunderstorm with high winds ravages a forested area, often trees fall. But in the aftermath forests rebound as is the natural cycle of our planet.

Industry is often focused accomplishing tasks quickly to maximize profit. In the lumber industry when deforestation is done quickly without regard to the environment, forests are susceptible to being wiped out with no ability to rebound. When large areas of trees are removed rapidly, the area is leveled down to stumps. This type of lumber harvesting has several dire effects on the area. One deeply troubling consequence is that the trees with large root networks that once held soil in place are now gone. In regions that are susceptible to major periods of rainfall, like Southeast Asia, this means rainfall can lead to mudslides, runoff, and severe flooding. The reason trees are so important to the natural environment is how they protect in times of flooding. When large amounts of rainfall, rivers take on more water. When rivers can’t handle the volume of water flowing, flooding occurs, damaging homes and even leading to casualties.

To illustrate this point, recently floods in Vietnam killed 27 people and demolished hundreds of homes. While certainly natural disasters occur around the world like earthquakes and tornadoes; those scenarios are man made. However these powerful floods ravaging homes and lives are not solely the result of mother nature. Indeed, in the past floods did occur in this region. However in the past, the floods were not nearly as severe. The question is, then, what is causing the rising severity of the floods? Those who are invested in sustainability and preservation of our world point to a clear industrial cause: improper deforestation practices. This natural disaster originates less from natural causes and more from improper deforestation practices. Slash-and-burn cultivators are largely to blame for these floods that occur on a yearly basis in northwestern Vietnam.

These cultivators undertake these unlawful deforestation tactics for their end goal: secure wood for their flooring businesses. The industry of flooring is a booming business, attractive to the slash-and-burn cultivators who stand to earn large sums of money.

In viewing the heartbreaking images of collapsed homes it seems a massive price to pay for flooring. Indeed though, the improper deforestation is a significant cause of these floods and devastation.

Though Span Floors is a business, our first responsibility is to the planet and to its inhabitants. We refuse to take part in irresponsible deforestation activities. If the lumber industry does not honor the natural resources we have, there is a tremendous risk of flooding and casualties like those in Vietnam and other countries across the region. We deeply care about the environment and believe you can have beautiful flooring without compromising our natural resources.

Pankaj

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