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The Four Basic Human Environmental Problems Here on Earth

environmental puzzlesWithout arguing cause (at least at the moment) most would agree that air (oxygen) pollution, water scarcity, food shortages, and homelessness is a pretty good way to name the basic environmental problems we humans face here on planet earth.

Air pollution

Air pollution pretty much extends around the planet, at least some of the time. Sure, it’s worse in some areas than others, but as the global wind currents circulate our air, that air quality tends to decrease round the planet.

The Washington Post in an article called This world map shows where pollution is getting worse. There’s good news for the U.S. although United States-centric, the report gives a pretty good view of much of the world’s air pollution problems. The good news for the U.S. and Europe is there’s been some improvement in air quality in both locales since 2014.

What that doesn’t address is the fact that earth is pretty much a closed system and that those global wind currents do circle the planet.

Fresh Water shortages

The BBC published Is the World Running Out of Water? which demonstrates how this is even possible (it is if you’re talking fresh water) and points to some solutions. Although a truly complex problem, the short form includes this information.

97.5 of the planet’s water is sea water meaning it’s unfit for human consumption. While sea water conversion into fresh is possible, it’s also horribly expensive.

Water is used for energy, and food production and both needs are projected to grow as much as 70 percent by 2035. Even today the deep freshwater aquifers are being depleted faster than they are being replenished. We see this directly in areas where the land has sunk and is sinking because of this over use.

Hope lies in real water conservation around the globe.

Food scarcity

Oxfam,  an international confederation of charitable organizations focused on the alleviation of global poverty, says There Is Enough Food to Feed the World yet “…close to a billion people go to sleep hungry every night. The problem is that many people in the world don’t have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.”

There are solutions, but we’ve barely begun to understand what needs to be done.


The Homeless World Cup reports Global Homeless Statistics as “The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide.

Habitat for Humanity estimates that as many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing.

There are solutions

As gloomy as all this is, there are solutions. Many are happening in relatively small amounts across our world. Some are simple, many are complex and some we don’t have yet. What’s missing in many instances is the political will to make the necessary adjustments.

Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at how we can solve these problems.

Thanks for being there,



Do You Know the Worth of a Single Tree? $193,250? More? Less?

value of a treeDo you know the worth of a single tree? Most people have little idea. Of course, it does depend on what kind of tree and where it is, but here’s how T. M. Das of the University of Calcutta figured it:

Assume the tree in question lives 50 years. In that length of time it will:

  • Generate over $31,250 worth of oxygen
  • Provide more than $62,000 of pollution control
  • Make a significant contribution to controlling soil erosion
  • Increase soil fertility by $31,250
  • Recycle $37,000 worth of water
  • Provide a home for animals worth $31,250

According to Nancy Beckham in Pricing the Environment this was written in 1979. She attempts to determine if this valuation is based in fact or not. Mostly her paper only proves that it’s difficult to assign a dollar value to a tree.

A more recent study suggests that trees in mega cities are worth some $500 million per year per city.


Why all this concern about the monetary value of a tree? That seems to be how our society decides what to appreciate or not.

As the University of Michigan’s poster above indicates, none of the dollar values even touch on the beauty of a tree.

I-Wood is made from trees which are…

I-wood lumber comes from trees. Some would say cutting down a tree to build a home is adding value to the worth of the tree; others would firmly disagree.

… Sustainable

At Profile Lumber, creator of I-Wood we know that wood is one of the finest, most durable and perhaps only truly sustainable building product you can find anywhere on the planet!


Because trees grow back. Seedlings can replace cut trees and grow to again provide lumber for a home. Properly managed a forest can last, well roughly forever, producing lumber, cleaning the air, providing homes for people and wildlife.

I-Wood lumber makes sense for so many reasons – being made from tree is just one.

Thanks for reading,

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How the Homeless Can Become Home Owners

As it stands now, most of the homeless in the United States have almost no choice about their situation. With no permanent address, email capability, or place to wash, let alone cook and store decent meals, they are pretty much stuck.

It’s possible, however, to help many of the homeless move toward real self-sufficiency.

Imagine a world where this wasn’t true

It’s possible, however, to set things up so that many of the homeless can begin to move out of their situation.

Here’s one approach:

i wood tent

The I Wood tent

A homeless person is granted $375 per month. Instead of renting an SRO or other month-to-month cheap room, they could, with the right program,invested $175 or less of that grant to buy the IWOOD pup tent and a hand drill, hand saw and a good screwdriver and end up with a portable, sturdy tent and, in 60 days or less, the skills and acquired the tools for the next step.

Yes, the community will have to find property where people living in tents like these for awhile will work – but it doesn’t take much land and portable sanitary facilities can be used.

Remember, we’re moving people up, out of homelessness.

Move up to a truly portable home

The second step is to spend $250 ($375 rent times two minus the cost of the tent) for the additional materials to move the tent to a trailer and add some materials for a soft roof and walls.

i wood house trailer

I Wood House Trailer with soft roof and walls.

Continue reading


A roof being constructed.Treecycling, Inc. knows trees have a crucial role in restoring balance to our ecosystem. As a non-profit our current mission is to build environmentally friendly homes in San Diego, CA. These homes become the prototype for building similar, sustainable homes literally the world around.

We know energy-efficient homes are the future and hope to help us all get there sooner. We achieve this through our unique milling system which produces I-Wood, or Profile Lumber, a specialty but easily duplicatable eco-friendly system. Continue reading


A frame with weathered wood.At Treecycling, Inc., we believe trees play a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem. That’s why our mission as a nonprofit is to build environmentally friendly homes in San Diego, CA. We see energy-efficient homes as the future and hope to help us all get there sooner. This is achieved through I-Wood, or Profile Lumber, one of our special eco-friendly building materials.

If all construction was done with I-Wood, we’d go a long way toward saving our forests and reducing carbon footprints around the world while providing eco-friendly homes that people can actually build and afford. This would help solve the problems of poverty and homelessness while preserving our planet’s natural resources, something we aim to accomplish every day.

How Our Wood Works

Get more wood and more use out of timber when you use our Profile Lumber. You’re sure to receive more usable lumber from a tree with I-Wood than with conventional milling, which typically gets three 2 x 4s from each 7-inch log. The remaining material from the board will come out in chip form, making it ideal for everything from paper pulp to ethanol to prefab small homes. Continue reading

What You Might Not Know About Wood and the World

That the world has problems is something most people would agree, and the agreement could well stop there. We looked to find what the current (2017) thinking is on world problems and immediately discovered there are many ways to slice that particular pie.

For example, the World Economic Forum tends to look, not surprisingly, at the business side of things in their Three key challenges for the world in 2017.  Wharton University speaks about The Biggest Risks Facing the World in 2017listing economic, environmental, geopolitical and technology – which I count as four. Singularity University starts with three goals:

  • Ensuring basic needs are met for all people
  • Sustaining and improving quality of life
  • Mitigating future risks

Google “what are the basic human needs for survival?” and there seems to be general agreement on four items: Continue reading