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by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What ever happened to the idea of turning
Mt. St. Helens into a national park?

-- Esther Monaghan, Boston, MA

St. Helens, one of the less prominent yet massive peaks of Washington State’s Cascade Range, made history on May 18, 1980 by erupting with the force of 500 atomic bombs, devastating 230 square miles of formerly verdant forest and killing 57 people. After considerable debate about what to do with the decimated landscape in the aftermath, Congress sided with scientists advocating it be left alone for research and education. In 1982 Congress created the 172-square-mile Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which had already been overseeing the forests on the flanks of the mountain as part of the surrounding 1.3 million acre Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

But in 2007 federal budget cuts coupled with diminishing visitation led the Forest Service to close one of its two primary visitor centers at Mt. St. Helens and scale back on its interpretive and management services. At that point, representatives from surrounding communities and environmental groups and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell came together in an effort to convince Congress to switch Mt. St. Helens over to a national park, which would ensure a larger funding pool for visitor services and amenities and ideally spur more visitation, which would in turn mean more business for struggling local communities.

Instead of pushing for national park status, however, Cantwell and her Congressional colleagues asked the Forest Service to detail how they plan to protect
Mt. St. Helens while expanding visitor services and recreational opportunities. The Forest Service subsequently put into place a new plan which, with help from the recently formed Mt. St. Helens Institute, would expand services and explore new options for overnight visitation. Tourism has since grown, but many still want to see Mt. St. Helens
a national park.

Indeed, recent research by
Michigan State University shows that national parks are huge economic engines, pumping nearly $13 billion in economic activity into gateway communities while supporting 250,000 jobs. “For every dollar spent on national parks, four dollars are returned to the economies of gateway communities,” says Sean Smith, policy director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “More than seven million people visited Washington
’s national parks last year alone and national parks nationwide received near record-breaking visitors, despite one of the toughest economies in decades.”

But perhaps more important, says Smith, is that Mt. St. Helens “is likely the most iconic American landscape currently not in the national park system [with] natural, cultural and historic wonders on par with other parks such as Olympic, Zion, and Crater Lake.” He adds that national park status would better protect Mt. St. Helens’ natural treasures from potential housing developments and even a proposed open pit gold mine that would be visible from the main visitor center and would decimate one of the most remote and pristine parts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest adjacent to Mt. St. Helens’ lower flanks.

While the debate continues,
Mt. St. Helens
remains an amazing example of Mother Nature’s fury and her restorative powers. Whether it’s a national monument or a national park, it’s well worth a visit.

TACTS: Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, www.fs.usda.gov/mountsthelens; National Parks Conservation Association, www.npca.org; Mt. St. Helens Institute, www.mshinstitute.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Do environmentalists think the Endangered Species Act has been a success or failure with regard to protecting biodiversity in the
U.S.? -- Ron McKnight, Trenton, NJ

While that very question has been a subject of debate already for decades, most environmental advocates are thankful such legislation is in place and proud of their government for upholding such high standards when it comes to preserving rare species of plants and animals.

That said, critics of the legislation make some solid points. For starters, only one percent of species (20 out of 2,000) under the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have recovered sufficiently to qualify for delisting. And the millions of dollars spent on often failed recovery efforts are difficult to justify, especially in these otherwise tough economic times.

But even though the vast majority of species protected under the ESA have not recovered doesn’t undermine the significance of those species—bald eagles, gray wolves, and grizzly bear to name a few—that have rebounded thanks to forward thinking legislation and wildlife management. Louisa Wilcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council is grateful to the ESA for the continued existence of grizzly bears in and around
Yellowstone National Park
. “After listing, the government cleaned up the massive garbage problems in Yellowstone Park, which reduced the habituation of bears to human foods—a pattern that often leads to grizzly deaths,” she reports. Commercial sheep herds were moved out of core grizzly habitat while hundreds of miles of roads on public lands in the region were closed to improve the iconic bears’ chances for survival. The result: The Yellowstone grizzly population more than doubled while human/bear interactions and incursions by hungry grizzlies onto local ranches have declined. “So, by any reckoning, the Yellowstone grizzly bear story is an ESA success,” concludes Wilcox.

To test whether or not the ESA has been effective on a grander scale, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), another leading green group, compared for its 2012 “On Time, On Target” report the actual recovery rate of 110 listed species with the projected recovery rate in their federal recovery plans. The 110 species occupy all 50 U.S. states, include all major taxonomic groups, and have various listing lengths.

CBD found that the ESA had “a remarkably successful recovery rate: 90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan,” adding: “On average, species recovered in 25 years, while their recovery plan predicted 23 years—a 91 percent timeliness accomplishment.”

CBD also confirmed the hypothesis that the majority of listed species have not enjoyed protection for long enough to warrant an expectation of recovery yet. “80 percent of species have not yet reached their expected recovery year,” reports CBD, adding that on average species have been listed for just 32 years, while their recovery plans required 46 years for success. This recent study’s findings echo the results of an earlier (2006) analysis in the Northeastern U.S. that found some 93 percent of federally listed species there were stabilized or improving since getting ESA protection and 82 percent were on track to meet recovery goals. “When judged in the light of meeting recovery plan timelines for recovery, the Endangered Species Act is remarkably successful,” says CBD. “Few laws of any kind can boast a 90 percent success rate.”

CONTACTS: CBD, www.biologicaldiversity.org; “On Time, On Target” Report, www.esasuccess.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Has anyone calculated the energy wasted at night by unnecessary lighting in and around buildings? What can we do to reduce our light footprint? -- Bill Rehkamp, via e-mail

Americans do squander a lot of electricity keeping things lit up at night while most of us sleep. This light blocks our view of the night sky and stars, creates glare hazards on roads, messes with our circadian sleep-wake rhythms, interrupts the patterns of nocturnal wildlife, and is by and large annoying. It also takes a financial toll: The federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste $2 billion (17 kilowatt-hours) of energy in the U.S. each year.

NOAO has monitored outdoor lighting levels across the U.S. and beyond for the past six years through its GLOBE at Night program whereby citizen-scientists track nearby outdoor lighting levels over a two-week period beginning in late March and submit their observations to NOAO electronically. A simple star map provided by NOAO is all that participants need to track their slice of sky. “All it takes is a few minutes for a family to measure their night sky brightness by noting how many stars are missing from an easy-to-find constellation like Leo (in the northern hemisphere) or Crux (in the southern hemisphere),” says GLOBE at Night project director Connie Walker. “This tells us how much light is directed upwards into the sky.”

Over the last six annual campaigns, participants from 100-plus countries have contributed almost 70,000 measurements, giving project organizers a detailed picture of light pollution globally. Unfortunately, analysis of the data shows that participants have seen brighter skies and fewer stars over time, meaning that light pollution is a growing problem. The free and publicly-accessible data gathered by the project is not only useful for educational purposes but can also help inform planners and policymakers on decisions about increasing public safety, reducing energy consumption and even identifying parks and green spaces that can serve as “sky oases” where city dwellers can appreciate the night sky from a safe, dark place.

According to the McDonald Observatory’s Dark Skies Initiative (DSI), the solution to light pollution is 90 percent education and 10 percent technology. “We can reclaim vast amounts of energy currently wasted inadvertently into the night sky...by using light fixtures that are shielded to reflect light down where it is needed, as well as using the smallest number of lights and lowest wattage bulbs necessary to effectively light an area,” says DSI. Leading by example through the installation of downward-pointing outdoor light fixtures is a great place for home and building owners to start: “Once people see it in action, and understand its implications for cost savings and enhanced visibility, they are far more likely to adopt good lighting practices on their own.” Another group committed to reducing light pollution, the International Dark-Sky Association, maintains a list of distributors that sell approved fixtures to prevent light pollution.

Some cities have instituted standards to limit outdoor night lighting to protect citizens against unwanted light (or “light trespass”). The International Dark-Sky Association has developed a set of model lighting ordinances that cities and towns can adopt and modify to suit their needs accordingly. Also, the U.S. Green Building Council has incorporated a credit for buildings seeking to reduce the amount of light trespass and sky glow through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

CONTACTS: GLOBE At Night, www.globeatnight.org; Dark Skies Initiative, www.mcdonaldobservatory.org/darkskies; International Dark Sky Association, www.darksky.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I read that CO2 in our atmosphere is now more than 300 parts per million. Doesn’t this mean that we’re too late to avoid the worst impacts of climate change? -- Karl Bren, Richmond, VA

Actually the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere today is roughly 390 parts per million (ppm). And that’s not good news. “Experts agree that this level cannot be sustained for many decades without potentially catastrophic consequences,” reports the Geos Institute, an Oregon-based non-profit and consulting firm that uses science to help people predict, reduce and prepare for climate change.

While we’re unlikely to get atmospheric CO2 concentrations down as low as they were (275 ppm) before we started pumping pollution skyward during the Industrial Revolution, climate scientists and green leaders agree that 350 ppm would be a tolerable upper limit. Prior to 2007 scientists weren’t sure what emissions reduction goal to shoot for, but new evidence led researchers to reach consensus on 350 ppm if we wished to have a planet, in the words of NASA climatologist James Hansen, “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”

The non-profit 350.org, launched in 2008 by writer and activist Bill McKibben and others to raise awareness about global warming, has circled the proverbial wagons around the cause of reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm. The group has enlisted the help of thousands of student volunteers around the world to mobilize public support for reducing humanity’s carbon footprint.

McKibben, whose 1989 book The End of Nature detailed the potential effects of climate change and remains one of the most influential environmental books of all time, believes that 350 ppm is attainable. “We’re like the patient that goes to the doctor and learns he’s overweight, or his cholesterol is too high. He doesn’t die immediately—but until he changes his lifestyle and gets back down to the safe zone, he’s at more risk for heart attack or stroke,” says McKibben. “The planet is in its danger zone because we’ve poured too much carbon into the atmosphere, and we’re starting to see signs of real trouble: melting ice caps, rapidly spreading drought. We need to scramble back as quickly as we can to safety.”

“Scrambling back” will entail nothing short of transforming our energy infrastructure, including how we transport people and goods and power our structures. According to 350.org, it means building solar arrays instead of coal plants, planting trees instead of cutting forests, increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste. “Getting to 350 means developing a thousand different solutions—all of which will become much easier if we have a global treaty grounded in the latest science and built around the principles of equity and justice,” the group reports. “To get this kind of treaty, we need a movement of people who care enough about our shared global future to get involved and make their voices heard.”

The group is working to create an international grassroots movement to influence political dynamics and implement solutions that show the benefits of moving to a clean energy economy. 350 ppm, while merely a number, represents humanity’s potential capacity to solve the most pressing problem it has faced; it also represents a target for international negotiators to aim for in forging an effective global warming treaty.

CONTACTS: Geos Institute, www.geosinstitute.org; 350.org, www.350.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What exactly is the federal government’s Recreational Trails Program and is it true that it’s on the chopping block? -- Randy Caldwell, Lyme, NH

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federal assistance program that helps states pay for the development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The Congressionally mandated program was in jeopardy due to budget cuts, but its backers in Congress announced this past July that RTP would be retained to the tune of $85 million per year as part of the new surface transportation agreement law called MAP-21. Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar was instrumental in the retention of RTP by introducing it as an amendment to MAP-21 as a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding.

Overall, MAP-21 allocates $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, maintain infrastructure and improve the overall efficiency of highway transportation. RTP is one of several provisions of MAP-21 that bolster transit, bike and pedestrian programs across the country.

Funding for the RTP portion of MAP-21 comes from a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected across the country from non-highway recreational fuel use in snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway light trucks, and comes out of the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Half of the RTP funds are distributed equally among all 50 states, and half are distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of non-highway recreational fuel use in each state. Individual states are responsible for administering their own RTP monies and soliciting and selecting qualifying projects.

That said, the use of RTP funding is restricted to maintenance and restoration of existing trails, development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages, purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment, construction of new trails, acquisition of easements or property for trails, and assessment of trail conditions for accessibility and maintenance. RTP funding may not go toward property condemnation (eminent domain), construction of new trails for motorized use on federally managed public lands or for facilitating motorized access on otherwise non-motorized trails.

States must allocate 30 percent of their RTP funding for motorized trail use, 30 percent for non-motorized use, and the remaining 40 percent for so-called “diverse” (motorized and non-motorized) trail use. Projects may satisfy two categories at the same time, giving states some flexibility in how to allocate their share of the RTP pie. States can use up to five percent of their funds to disseminate related publications and operate educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection related to trails.

Trail lovers across the country are thrilled that Congress extended RTP, which began in 2005 with a $60 million allocation and was increased each of the following years until it plateaued at $85 million in 2009. The continuation of the $85 million allocation was also good news to those who feared that if it wasn’t cut entirely it would be scaled back significantly. With new funding for the next two years, Americans can look forward to the creation of many new trails and continued maintenance of existing ones.

www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/index.cfm; American Trails overview of RTP funding, www.americantrails.org/rtp.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the Domestic Fuels Protection Act of 2012 and why are environmental groups opposing it? -- William Bledsoe, Methuen, MA

The Domestic Fuels Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 4345) is a bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives in April 2012 by a bi-partisan group of Congress members to protect domestic producers of ethanol, biodiesel and other green-friendly fuels from liability to end-users who put the wrong kind of fuel or fuel mix into their tanks and damage their engines and/or emit exaggerated amounts of pollution accordingly. The idea behind the bill is to ensure that domestic “green” fuel and related equipment producers aren’t forced into dire financial straits or put out of business due to crippling liability claims.

But some feel that the fuel industry, whether its products are environmentally friendly or not, should be held accountable for damage its products may cause. Most recently, E15, a fuel blend containing 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol (a renewable crop-based fuel) came under fire for causing engine damage in some older cars and trucks. The EPA approved the use of E15 in 2010 after lobbying from the ethanol industry, which seeks to up the ethanol content of gasoline from what had been the standard of 10 percent, which is much easier for gasoline engines to tolerate.

The Auto Alliance, an industry group, recently released a study claiming that upwards of five million cars on U.S. roads today could be damaged if owners pump in E15 instead of straight gasoline or even the milder E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline). “Problems included damaged valves and valve seats, which can lead to loss of compression and power, diminished vehicle performance, misfires, engine damage, as well as poor fuel economy and increased emissions,” reports the group, adding that the potential costs to consumers are significant. “The most likely repair would be cylinder head replacement, which costs from $2,000-4,000 for single cylinder head engines and twice as much for V-type engines.”

Environmental and consumer advocates say that H.R. 4345 is a bad deal for consumers who will be left footing the bill for these repairs. The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) bemoans the bill because it would exempt hugely profitable and already “favored interests” including fuel producers, engine makers and retailers of fuels and fuel additives from liability for damage caused by their products.

H.R. 4345 is currently under committee review in the House, but analysts doubt it will ever make it to a floor vote given the contentious debate surrounding the fact that it puts the burden of repair costs on end consumers. Users on the govtrack.us website (which provides free and comprehensive legislative tracking for everyday citizens) give H.R. 4345 only a three percent chance of passing. Meanwhile, the Senate is considering a companion bill, the so-called Domestic Fuels Act (S. 2264). But unless the House passes its version first, the Senate bill is unlikely to gain much traction.

www.ewg.org; Auto Alliance, www.autoalliance.org; GovTrack.us, www.govtrack.us.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How energy efficient (and comfortable) is underfloor heating, sometimes known as radiant heating? -- Marcy Dell, Boston, MA

Underfloor radiant heating involves under laying the floor with a hot element or tubing that transfers heat into the room via infrared radiation and convection, obviating the need for forced or blowing air.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website, radiant heating has a number of advantages over other forms of heat distribution: “It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts.” It is also flexible as it can run off of a variety of energy sources: Gas, oil, wood, solar and other sources or combinations thereof can feed radiant systems. And radiant heating is a good choice for those with severe allergies as no potentially irritating particles get blown around the room.

Several aspects of radiant heating make it more energy efficient. For starters, the uniform heat distribution over the entire surface of a floor heats the lower half of the room, enveloping inhabitants in warmth at a lower overall temperature—in some cases up to five degrees Fahrenheit cooler—than a conventional heating system. “Radiators and other forms of ‘point’ heating circulate heat inefficiently and hence need to run for longer periods to obtain comfort levels,” reports the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNet). “They draw cold air across the floor and send warm air up to the ceiling, where it then falls, heating the room from the top down, creating drafts and circulating dust and allergens.” RESNet adds that radiant systems transmit heat on average some 15 percent more efficiently than conventional radiators.

The efficiency gains can be magnified significantly with good insulation and a well-designed system. While tearing out old heating systems and/or replacing decent existing flooring might be overkill for the sake of moving to radiant heat, those embarking on new building projects or contemplating major renovations should certainly consider it. According to TLC Network’s Green Living Guide, there are two main types of radiant heating, electric and hydronic. In the former, heated wires installed in the floor radiate heat upward.

This type of radiant heat is most commonly used to retrofit a single room—especially a bathroom or kitchen—in an older house or building. Meanwhile, hydronic radiant heating, whereby heated water is forced through tubes under the floor, is more often designed into a new structure from the get-go, and is more energy efficient overall.

TLC points out that while radiant heat is definitely more efficient in smaller, snug homes with lower roofs, it might not always be the greenest solution in homes with bigger rooms: “In some scenarios it can be less energy efficient than forced-air heating.” TLC recommends consulting with a reputable heating contractor to see if radiant heating is a sensible way to go.

Of course, pairing a radiant heating system with an energy efficient EnergySTAR-approved programmable thermostat can indeed save households hundreds of dollars a year on home heating bills while keeping inhabitants warmer all year long. Many states offer financial incentives to upgrade home and commercial heating systems in ways that boost energy efficiency. Check out the free Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) to find out what kinds of tax rebates or other incentives might be available in your neck of the woods.

CONTACTS: Energy Savers, www.energysavers.gov; RESNet, www.resnet.us; TLC Network Green Guide, http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/green-living.htm; DSIRE Database,

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are there certain brands or retail stores where sustainable furniture options can be had? And what should I look for when shopping for greener furniture? -- W. Cary, Trenton, NJ

While we now opt often for greener cars, appliances, household cleaners and food to up the sustainability quotient of our lifestyles, the furniture we spend all day and night in close contact with is often far from eco-friendly. The vast majority of sofas, chairs, beds and other upholstered furniture we love to lounge on contain potentially carcinogenic formaldehyde and/or toxic flame retardants and stain resistors that have been linked to developmental and hormonal maladies. And much of the wood used in desks, chairs, tables and the like (as well as in the frames of upholstered furniture) comes from unsustainably harvested lumber which contributes to the deforestation of tropical rainforests.

But today, thanks to increased consumer awareness and demand, there are more “green” choices in furniture available than ever before. A good place to start the search for that perfect couch or chair is the website of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), a non-profit formed in 2006 to help develop solid standards and certification processes within the home furnishings industry. The organization has become a leading information source and network of some 400 “green” furniture makers and related retailers, suppliers and designers as well as other non-profits. Consumers looking for greener furniture can browse SFC’s membership list which features contact information and website links accordingly. Buyers beware: Just because a furniture maker is listed with SFC doesn’t mean it eschews all chemicals or unsustainably harvested wood entirely, but only that it is making strides in that direction. Consumers should still be knowledgeable about which green features they are looking for and/or which kinds of materials to avoid.

Of course, with something like furniture you really need to see and feel it in order to decide whether it will work in your space. Eco-conscious consumers making the rounds at local furniture stores should keep a few key questions in mind for salespersons. Does the piece in question contain formaldehyde, flame retardants or stain resistant sprays? Is the fabric used certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard program (GOTS, which mandates that at least 70 percent of fibers are derived from organic sources and do not contain chemical dyes or other additives)? Is the wood used certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as sustainably harvested? Does the piece contain any parts or pieces that come from bamboo or reclaimed wood or recycled metal or plastic? And is it easy to disassemble into reusable or recyclable parts if it needs to be replaced down the line?

If the salesperson doesn’t know the answers, chances are the piece does not pass environmental muster. Limiting your search to brick-and-mortar and Internet-based retailers that specialize in green products is one way to reduce the amount of research and self-education needed, especially because salespersons in such stores are usually up-to-speed on the latest and greatest in sustainable furnishings. Some leading national furniture chains that carry a sizeable inventory of sustainable goods include Crate and Barrel, Room and Board and West Elm, but many more single store eco-friendly furniture stores exist across the country. Some leading online green furniture retailers include Eco-Friendly Modern Living, Furnature, InMod, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, SmartDeco, Southcone and Viesso.

www.sustainablefurnishings.org; FSC, www.fsc.org; GOTS, www.global-standard.org; Eco-Friendly Modern Living, www.eco-friendlymodernliving.com; Furnature, www.furnature.com; InMod, www.inmod.com; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, www.mgbwhome.com; SmartDeco, www.smartdecofurniture.com; Southcone, www.southcone.com; Viesso, www.viesso.com.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

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