Global warming and the subsequent changes in the climate is probably one of the most important challenges mankind has ever faced, not only because of the effects but moreover because we -our society, our economy, our lifestyle- have caused the problem. It is, therefore, our responsibility to reset our relationship with the Earth, the only home we have ever had, in order to assure a healthy planet for future generations.
Reworking our relationship with the planet is the biggest challenge we have ever faced because we are depleting the resources nature generously provides us with. It is necessary to reverse what we have been doing over the last two centuries and assure a sustainable and healthy model for the future. We must develop a “green economy”, one that is clean and healthy over time, assuring an adequate supply of sustainable products that fit in to a responsible demand. There are three key developments in this adventure:
A low carbon economy is one that reduces carbon emissions. We have been over-contaminating the atmosphere for decades and this trend must stop. A poplar plantation plays a double role in this quest, because it is, in itself, a clean source of energy (biomass) and it also captures carbon dioxide form the atmosphere. Having said that, to be most efficient we must use timber intelligently, transforming it in to products first and in to energy when the product comes to the end of its life-cycle, because the only way to store the CO2 captured by a poplar is harvesting it at the right age and transforming it into products like furniture, flooring, doors, buildings or packaging.
A bioeconomy is one that emphasizes the use of renewable raw materials with a biological origin. It is simply common sense. It does not imply that we have to ban concrete or fossil based raw materials because there will be situations when they are the only solution to a given problem, but rather, when possible, turn to using renewable resources. Energy-wise, wind is an obvious option as sailors’ have always known. In constructions, wood can be a very efficient alternative to brick or concrete. It is not only an attractive material for interiors but with recent innovations, it can become a key player structurally, too. It is lighter, at least just as resistant and as strong as its competitors.
Thirdly, a circular economy is one that puts the emphasis on reducing contaminating residue. Plastics are the clearest threat to the planet… and us. Again, it is really a question of relearning rather that doing anything new. Remember when you used paper bags when you went shopping? Well, they didn`t contaminate the seas and the oceans, did they? Using poplar-based products is a key solution in reducing our contamination footprint. And using them does not imply deforestation, as long as the products are sourced from sustainably managed forests or plantations.