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Do you know where the cork of your cork wine bottle stoppers and coasters comes from?
I didn't until today when I read an email and post by Summer (http://www.ottoman.etsy.com/) from Eco Etsy about cork and cork trees.
Then I read the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) website on it: http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/europe/what_we_do/mediterranean/about/forests/cork/index.cfm
I also looked at the map that they have.
Then I pulled out my map from Conservation International (http://www.conservation.org/) of the Biodiversity Hotpots.
There is a Biodiversity Hotspot, "Mediterranean Basin" that includes the countries mentioned on the WWF website where the cork forests are: Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia, and France. I took a good look at it and it looks to me like the cork forest areas are in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot.
As I have quoted below, this means promoting the sale of cork products from cork forests managed to Forest Stewardship Council standards will help to protect the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot as "...cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber) which renews itself after harvesting, commercial exploitation is environmentally friendly, as not a single tree is cut down." (from WWF webpage on cork oak landscapes).
Protection of areas within the Biodiversity Hotposts identified by Conservation International is one of the environmental issues that I focus on. Below are a series of quotes off my map from Conservation International:
"The loss of bioglogical diversity is the most critical environmental issue
facing our planet at the dawn of the new millennium. The problem at times
seems overwhelming. The solution is to identify strategies that will
prevent further loss of the species , ecosystems, and ecological processes that
comprise the Earth's biological wealth. .... The biodiversity hotspots concept,
created by Norman Myers in 1988, has been the most influential priority-setting
approach of the past decade. It was adopted by both Conservation
International and the MacArthur Foundation as their principal conservation
strategy in 1989.
"The hotpots concept recognizes that a small number of ecoregions occupying a small portion of the land surface of the planet account for an inordinately large share of Earth's terrestrial biodiversity.
"Given the great concentration of biodiversity in such a small
and highly threatened fragment of our world, it is obvious that these areas
require very special attention from the international community. If we
fail to act effectively in the hotspots, we will lose a major portion of life on
Earth in the first half of the twenty-first century regardless of how successful
we are in other areas."
FOLKS -- WE ARE IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY!!
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN YOUR LIFE TO PROMOTE PROTECTION OF THESE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS???
LEARN WHERE THEY ARE - http://www.conservation.org/explore/priority_areas/Pages/hotspots.aspx
CONSUMER-DRIVEN CONSERVATION REGARDING PRODUCTS FROM THESE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS THAT ARE PRODUCED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO PROMOTE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY IN THESE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS IS ONE WAY ANYONE CAN HELP.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS FROM ME:
1. DON'T BUY CERTAIN PRODUCTS, SUCH AS ANYTHING MADE FROM REDWOOD FORESTS IN CALIFORNIA, UNLESS THEY ARE CERTIFIED BY THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL -- THE REDWOOD FORESTS IN CALIFORNIA ARE IN THE CALIFORNIA FLORISTIC PROVINCE, A GLOBALLY SIGNIFICANT BIODIVSERSITY HOTSPOT IN THE UNITED STATES.
2. BUY THE TEA, GUAYAKI -- IT IS GROWN SUSTAINABLY IN THE RAINFORESTS OF SOUTH AMERICA FROM THE WEBSITE FOR GUAYAKI (http://www.guayaki.com/) : "Guayakí has pioneered an innovative business model called Market Driven Restoration in which Guayakí serves as a bridge linking consumer purchases of healthy yerba mate products in North America with indigenous communities engaged in sustainable agriculture and reforestation projects in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Each person that drinks two servings per day of Guayakí Yerba Mate helps protect approximately one acre of rainforest every year."
3. BUY ORGANIC COFFEES GROWN SUSTAINABLY IN THE RAINFORESTS OF THE WORLD. I PERSONALLY HAVE TRADER JOE'S PERUVIAN CAFE FEMENINO GROWN DEEP IN THE ANDES MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN PERU, WHICH I BELIEVE, ACCORDING TO MY MAP FROM CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL, IS IN EITHER THE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT "TROPICAL ANDES" OR PART OF THE AMAZONIAN WILDERNESS AREA!!
4. IF YOU BUY WINE, BUY BOTTLES WITH CORK STOPPERS.
If you live in California, like I do, there may be many things you can do to help protect the CALIFORNIA FLORISTIC PROVINCE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT in your daily life in your community. Other than the high arid and low-lying desert areas of northeatern and southeastern California, the remaining 70% of California lands are within the Biodiversity Hotspot. Yes the well-known cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego are all in the California Floristic Province Biodiversity Hotspot (I have a map of that, too) - and I am afraid that the development in these cities are part of why the biodiversity in this ecosystem is threatened.
Our Eco Etsy motto of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is one way we can all help to protect biodiversity on our planet -- especially if you live in a biodiversity hotspot, like I do!!