Living legacies


The “why” of Living Legacies….

The land we now call Aotearoa was not called anything a handful of centuries ago because no people had ever been here. It was the last landmass to be settled by humans. When people first came here about 800-1000 years ago, some 80% of the land was covered in unique forests found nowhere else in the world. Now this area of forest has been reduced to a little over 20%. In the lifetime of a single rimu tree, the forests of this country have been through a human-induced holocaust.

Of the forests that remain, the vast majority are located at high altitudes. These lands were not valuable for farming, and so became national parks. Only a relatively small proportion of forests are left in the lowlands (about 15% of the land area), where species like rimu thrive. Of this, nearly half is unlogged forest.

“I went to the woods because
I wished to live deliberately,
to front only
the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn
what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.”

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

On a grander scale, our Earth is suffering a massive wave of extinction. The last time the Earth experienced this extinction rate was 65 million years ago (when the dinosaurs died out). The current global extinction holocaust is being caused by us (humans), and the biggest threat to species diversity is the loss of habitat.

Climate change and the demand for native timbers are helping to drive this habitat loss. If there were no demand for the products from the ancient natural forests, they would be under far less pressure. We need to be restoring native forests, not logging the few that remain. One way of lowering the demand for native timber is to not buy them. Instead, buy only wood from planted forests with a certified sustainable label. The most reliable label is the international Forest Stewardship Council label. (See our Linking Legacies page for their website.) It is a certification system that ensures that the timber from it is not contributing to the destruction of habitats or the unfair exploitation of local communities.
(Thanks to Dr Sean Weaver for this.)

“Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you know that money cannot be eaten”

Cree prophecy

Living Legacies does not support or condone the use of New Zealand native timbers, nor unsustainably-grown, exotic hardwood timbers, nor imported timbers for any purpose. However, the most wasteful and destructive use of hardwoods must surely be in the manufacture of coffins which will only be used for a few days and then destroyed.

We supply only coffins made of sustainable locally grown, untreated pine, poplar and willow. For more about our coffins, please visit the Coffins page.