Summer Lush Haul!

Check out my summer Lush Haul!

Corruption in the timber industry in Eastern Europe (Why you shouldn't buy from Ikea)

Earthsight recently published a report on corruption in the European timber industry and the purchasing of illegal timber from Ukraine by Europe. The report focused on the illegal logging happening in the ecologically important and sensitive regions that support some of our continents most endangered wildlife.
Earthsight spent two years investigating how illegal logging in the region was fueling corruption throughout Eastern Europe and corruption within Ukraine itself. The EU purchased 1 billion Euros of timber in 2017 from the region which represents 70% of all the illegal timber that is harvested. Of that, 40% of the timber from the region is illegal and was harvested in ecologically sensitive areas. Ukraine is the largest single supplier of such high-risk wood to the EU, exceeding all of the tropical countries of Latin America, Africa, and SE Asia combined.

The report pointed out sadly that this was commonplace and was occurring without much protest or intervention by the EU to uphold the EUTR of 2013. They also found that most of this wood was FSC certified despite being harvested illegally. Earthsight commented that this was prevalent due to the lack of due diligence by the FSC and timber companies who were not checking where their wood comes from or performing any independent audits.
This story is similar to others across the continent where issues with illegal logging and irresponsible timber harvesting practises are prevalent.
Romania, for example, is one of the largest areas of primeval forests that are left in Europe with 200,000 hectors of vegan forests still remaining in the Carpathians. This is a very important area biologically and ecologically not just because it is one of the last strongholds of European wolf's bears and lynx but also for the important microflora and fauna in the soils of the region. Europe is subject to large areas of soil erosion and degradation due to deforestation and agricultural practises.
However, this important region is now being commercially logged with little to no opposition from the government or EU.

This story was also repeated recently in Poland who has been logging in the ancient Bialwieza forest regardless of it being deemed illegal by the EU and being a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the last remaining strongholds of European Bison.

All of this timber is then going into our furniture, paper, and packaging; Earthsight called out Homebase HP, Staples and Ikea for their part in purchasing this illegal timber.. As a customer the best thing you can do is tweet these companies and boycott them... money talks. 

Although there has been an increase in right-wing parties and nationalism in Eastern Europe, that should not jeopardize the preservation of the natural world, environmentalism should be excluded from politics. Our landscape nature and environment is part of our cultural heritage and this should be protected regardless of the political situation. 

Here in the UK we have extreme issues with deforestation which are largely ignored. We currently only have 13% forest cover resulting in high levels of air pollution soil erosion, less productive arable land and most of all issues with flooding. Supporting woodland charities here like the Woodland Trust RSPB, Trees for Cities, Grown in Britain etc. should be a priority; as well as putting pressure on the Government. 

Eco tourism! Escape from the world at Ty Cariad

The rise in popularity of Eco tourism seems to have gone hand in hand with globalization. Now, when looking for a holiday what do people look for? For me peace and quiet and being surrounded by the countryside are the most important.

I have written in a blog post a while ago about how to travel in a more Eco friendly way, one which doesn't put so much strain on the environment; one of the most important things I mentioned on that list was using Airbnb instead of staying in hotels. This keeps money in the local economy and supports local people. You can also find some real gems which is what we found in West Wales (the best country in the world.)

Ty Cariad is tucked away down country lanes about a 10 minuet drive from the beach and cardigan town. 

Made entirely from hardwood this wooden cabin is everything a country cabin should be; equipped with log burner and wooden porch. 

The cabin is entirely hand made and built in a Eco friendly way, fully equipped with compost toilet and outdoor bath.

Although we visited in summer the lovely thing is, is I can imagine it being just as nice in Winter too.

The surroundings are peaceful as it is completely tucked away from shops and roads though you may have to put up with the odd bleating of a sheep. 

If you are looking for a get away, to clear your head and enjoy the countryside this may be the place for you. Ty Cariad (Love Shack) is also pet friendly so feel free to bring your furry friends on holiday there too! Everyone needs to switch off, everyone needs to relax and get away from time to time and I think this is the perfect place to do that.