Siberian Wood

Builders, contractors, do it yourself enthusiasts – everyone loves hardwood floors. Pre-cut sections  practically snap together. Flashy laminates – cost effective and abundant, fuel a growing hardwood economy. Big box chains like Lumber Liquidators happily supply oblivious consumers.

Why oblivious? Call it the Walmart, dollar store, price cutter syndrome – consumers demand low prices, something mega industrial China delivers.  Ignorance is bliss – inexpensive,  gargantuan retail offerings lull even the steadfast, into consumer bliss. Powerless in the face of skillful marketers, Home and Garden television, infallible sense of superiority, misguided notions of government regulation, and good old fashioned desire – North America fuels questionable Chinese imports with nary a blink.

Back to your pretty new hardwood floor – you might want to put on a face mask, chances are it’s giving off toxic levels of Formaldehyde – but I’m getting ahead of myself.  An 80% probability says your laminate floor once stood tall in Siberian forests. Incidentally, the same forest inhabited by Earth’s remaining 500 wild Siberian Tigers – vast stands of old growth white oak forest, some in national parks, others on private land, all home to a handful of remaining big cats. So what’s the problem?

Wood flooring translates to fortunes in coffers of those able to supply demand. Enter the Russian mafia – a highly organized criminal organization with resources and muscle to match. Dismiss cover of darkness, snatch and run operations – this is the Russian mob. Illegal logging operations on a unprecedented scale see an endless stream of train cars taking lumber across the border into China.

Suifenhe Xingjia has 3 factories and 13 sawmills in north east China – in 2011, Xingjia exported $600 million of hardwood flooring – the majority to America, followed by western Europe, Canada and Japan. Big box retailer Lumber Liquidators acquired almost all their laminate flooring from China.

Your new floor is so pretty, maybe you don’t care about losing a species of Tiger, Russian mobsters or Chinese factories. Perhaps it never occurred to you that cheap Chinese imports undermine legitimate local businesses. Oh well – not your problem – your floor looks great and didn’t break the bank. I wonder how you feel about carcinogens?

Why did your Lumber Liquidators flooring cost less than domestic hardwood? Are you a savvy shopper who knows how to find a deal, or a patsy conned into believing low cost comes without a price? The “price” of inexpensive Chinese flooring is Formaldehyde. In a random sampling over 3 years, 6 of 8 hardwood floor panels leached unacceptable levels of carcinogens. Read the link below…

If compelled to learn about bribes, falsified documents,woefully inadequate regulation and testing of hardwood imports, indifferent government officials, toxic formaldehyde, endangered Siberian Tigers – an investigation by Canadian reporters at 16×9…..×9-an-investigation-into-illegal-lumber/



2012 DA 14 on February 15, 2013

On February 15th breathe a sigh of relief as asteroid 2012 DA14 miraculously passes us by. No need to worry about a collision, this one will be close but harmless. When I say close, I mean really, really close. The moon is around 240,000 miles away, DA14 will pass an estimated 21,000 miles from earth. In cosmic terms, this is about as close a call as you get.

DA14 is only about 150 feet wide; certainly nothing like the KT asteroid that is suspected of wiping out the dinosaurs. The trouble with asteroids is that they move so fast, even a little rock can be cataclysmic. In 1908 an asteroid about the same size is suspected of smashing into Siberia. Known as the Tunguska Comet it pancaked miles of forest and killed herds of reindeer. Had it found a city, the bad day would have been epic.

We tend to forget  our fragile existence. Far from suggesting we fret over cosmic calamities; my only hope is at some point it will sink in that squandering our lives is rather absurd. I’ll cut some slack on the 20 something crowd, but for those years we would all be dull. Beyond that – I say; no excuses.

Look at the stars, plant a garden, try making bread simply because it smells so good while baking, send a hand written letter before you forget what cursive writing is, travel – understand the world can not be seen from an all inclusive resort or cruise ship, better yet – take a road trip. Vow to never “tweet” about celebrities – ever again! Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, and realize it doesn’t matter how much money you make.

The Mayan calendar silliness should have taught us something. Asteroids whiz by; DA14 a little close for comfort, but no different from talk of the long overdue Yellowstone super volcano or anticipated mega quakes. We have one shot at life, there are no “do overs”, what a waste of time to spend it poorly.