Using skilled, hands-on carpentry and woodworking is joyful, high-paying work.    Photo © Getty Images

Slow Wood® is a way of obtaining, crafting and using wood and wood-derived materials that honors, appreciates, protects and, yes, loves the forests and trees they came from. Our modern, industrialized society carries a legacy of ever-increasing consumption of stuff that separates us from the origins and impacts of the procuring, processing and disposal of the materials — including wood — we use and discard.

Within the systems of the use of wood and wood-derived products, two basic realities exist that require us to make great change, if we’re to achieve any semblance of a sustainable forest economy (“sylviconomy”). The first reality: globally, we’re using perhaps 20-times the amount of wood-derived materials than what can sustain the complex web of life and ecosystem functioning (“sustainable”) that we’ve enjoyed and made use of since the dawn of Civilization.

Slow Wood® is the only system that considers the end-use of a material and the need for reduction in use to fit within overall sustainability. To achieve the massive reduction needed, we must end the use of wood for a number of categories of products. For more on this, see Reduction.

The second reality is that the majority of us are now almost entirely ignorant of, and distanced from, the origins of the wood products we use. Even if we reduce our use to 5% of current levels, we still must constrain killing and harvesting of trees to the least-damaging methods possible. This requires that we renew the thoughtful, respectful, artisanal, intimate methods of harvesting and crafting wood — and that we acknowledge the lives we take and harm to make a thing. This way tends to slow us down, as each interaction connects us to the living forest and sows appreciation.

Fast wood and disposable wood and paper products are the antithesis of Slow Wood® and, like fast food, are bad for us.

Moving nogal logs cut from coffee plantations, Nicaragua, 2011.    Photo © Earthbilt

Low-impact, selective logging creates many more jobs than mechanized clear-cutting.    Photo © Barrie Brusila

Slow Wood® is a project of Earthbilt and is a registered trademark. Website copyright © 2021