How you can Conserve our Forests

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Sustainable Living Tips to Conserve Our Forests and Watersheds


At Forest Unlimited, we know that the health of our planet relies on the well-being of its ecosystems. Forests and watersheds play an essential role by nurturing biodiversity, capturing and storing carbon, filtering pollutants from the air, regulating the flow of water, preventing erosion, and contributing to soil health. Forests also have immense cultural and recreational value, providing a place for spiritual practices, leisure activities, and education. Their preservation helps maintain our connection with nature. From an economic standpoint, these complex ecosystems support industries like tourism and agriculture while reducing the cost of water treatment and flood control.

Protecting our forests and watersheds is in our best interest. As deforestation continues to threaten these ecosystems daily, consider making a few changes to your lifestyle to reduce your individual impact.

Walk to Reduce Emissions

Urban forestry, the care and management of trees in urban settings, offers countless benefits to the community. Beyond soaking up carbon, preventing flooding, cleaning the air, and producing oxygen, trees release water vapor and provide shade to improve cooling. Trees for Cities explains that urban trees are also incredibly beneficial to our mental health!

Sadly, city trees suffer from the impact of car emissions. Reducing the amount of time you spend driving around your city is a great way to support the trees in your neighborhood. Instead of driving, try to walk wherever you need to go. Living in a walkable area makes this much easier. If you’re thinking about moving, keep an eye out for homes in areas with a high Walk Score.

Practice Sustainable Landscaping and Tree Care

Sustainable residential landscaping practices reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and excess water to minimize water waste and prevent harmful pollutants from entering the watershed. Planting trees and shrubs in your yard can also reduce soil erosion and further enhance water quality through natural filtration. When working on your outdoor space, choose native plants that thrive in your region without the need for additional water or chemicals. Learn how to care for the trees on your property to maintain their structural integrity and enhance their longevity. Consider also growing mushrooms in your garden to further support the health of your soil and plants.

Consume Wood Products Responsibly

By consuming wood products responsibly at home and work, we can reduce the demand for fresh wood and alleviate the pressure on forests. First and foremost, this means being mindful of the products you purchase. When you buy wood-based items, choose quality products with long life spans and prioritize products made from sustainably sourced or reclaimed wood. Reuse wooden items whenever possible, sell things you no longer need, and recycle items that are no longer usable. Many communities have wood recycling programs that can transform old furniture, pallets, and other wooden items into new products or energy sources. At work, simply going digital and limiting your use of paper products can have a huge impact on your use of wood products.

Conserve Water

Trees and forests rely on a consistent water supply to thrive, especially during dry seasons or droughts. When we use water efficiently in our daily lives, such as fixing leaks, using low-flow fixtures, and reducing wasteful consumption, we ensure there’s ample water available for these ecosystems. Responsible water usage also helps maintain the natural flow of rivers and streams within watersheds, preserving aquatic habitats and maintaining water quality. Be mindful of your water usage at home and try to avoid waste as much as possible.

Our forests and watersheds are not only vital to our planet’s health; they’re intrinsic to our quality of life! Whether you choose to walk instead of drive, embrace sustainable landscaping, consume wood products responsibly, or make an effort to conserve water at home, the actions you take will have a collective and far-reaching impact, helping preserve our precious forests for current and future generations.

If you want to do more for our forests, get involved in collaborative efforts. For example, consider volunteering  with Forest Unlimited to help protect, enhance, and restore the forests and watersheds of the North Bay!

How Businesses Can Keep Up as the World Goes Paperless

By Adam Taylor
Now more than ever, the world is becoming increasingly fast-paced, interconnected, and environmentally conscious. As the professional landscape continues to grow more complex, tried-and-true organizational methods are becoming obsolete. Going paperless can help an organization keep up with the competition in this constantly shifting business environment, while also benefiting the actual environment. This might seem like a complicated change, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips, you can take your business paperless and do your part to make a difference.

What Are the Advantages?
When converting data and documentation to a digital system, the advantages are worth the effort. General office supplies such as paper and toner need to be purchased less frequently and in smaller quantities. Bulky equipment such as faxes and printers become less of a necessity. The cost of waste and recycling management is also reduced.
This makes room not only in the literal office space but in the budget. Studies show that reproducing and distributing a single-page file costs a company $180 on average. Also worth considering is the boost a company’s reputation can gain from a “going green” initiative. Modern consumers appreciate an environmentally friendly organization, and one of the most common and comprehensive ways to achieve that image is by going paperless.

How Can Employees Benefit?
With such a large undertaking, it’s important to have the support of the entire workforce while making the switch. Fortunately, a paperless initiative benefits much more than the company’s bottom line. Employees can communicate more effectively, and a lack of handwritten information reduces the chances of human error. Information is both more secure and more widely accessible when backed up digitally. Workers do not need to track down a physical document or for that matter even be on-site to access it. These advantages can assure the team’s desire to buy into the concept of a paperless office.
Is Going Paperless Safer?
The security benefits of going paperless are twofold. Documents are far more secure behind digital login credentials than filed away physically. Besides preventing unauthorized access or tampering, digitizing documents also protects them from loss and damage. When information is backed up to the network, it’s out of the path of any on-site catastrophes.
Where Do We Start?
When going paperless, it can be a challenge to know where to begin. Existing documents should be digitized wherever possible and meticulously filed away if not. On the employee side, everything from payroll to health benefits can be converted. Many companies utilize direct deposit now, but some still provide paper paystubs by mail when an email would suffice. There are also apps employees can use to track data such as hours worked and insurance information.

How Do We Continue?
With existing documents organized and digitized where possible, how does the company move forward? Luckily there is an ever-growing variety of tools, software, and strategies to streamline the switch. Premade templates for anything from paystubs to memos are widely available.
Rather than rely on paper forms of marketing, switching to digital marketing and social media marketing can save on paper and costs. This is where social media can be a godsend. In the past, businesses would have to rely on expensive print ads and direct mail campaigns to reach their target audience. However, with the advent of social media marketing, companies can now reach a much wider audience at a fraction of the cost.
Online ads, for example, allow businesses to target specific demographics with laser precision. This means that businesses can save a significant amount of money on paper and postage costs. In addition, social media marketing is highly effective in building brand awareness and generating leads. As a result, it is an extremely cost-effective way to market any business. Plus, the process to design an online ad is simplified when you rely on templates that allow you to fully customize your ads to fit your needs. Look for free tools to make this a quick and easy task.
How Does Going Paperless Help in the Long Run?
While it may at first seem like a massive undertaking, going paperless is becoming a necessity for modern business. The improvements to productivity, efficiency, budget, and the environment will continue long after the initial effort is spent. All aspects of life are becoming increasingly digitized. The sooner companies convert, the better they’ll be able to compete in this ever-changing landscape. So revisit your methods for storing documents, switch to direct deposit, and turn to social media marketing to save money and make inroads for the environment.

Dealing with Climate Change Stress

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8 Ways to Relieve Stress From Climate Change

by Cheryl Conklin

The concern over climate change has increased significantly recently. If you’re feeling stressed about the future of the planet, worry not — there are plenty of things you can do to take care of the planet and relieve your stress levels at the same time. Here are eight ways to relieve your stress from climate change today, presented below by Forest Unlimited

1. Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation is a more eco-friendly way of getting around. Not only does it get you where you need to go without releasing excess emissions into the atmosphere, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. Plus, there’s no need for you to waste money on gas. As an added bonus, it’s safer!

2. Take a Staycation

You probably have a stack of vacation days that you haven’t used. Instead of blowing your money on a trip, take a vacation close to home. Getting away from it all doesn’t always mean booking an expensive, gas-guzzling flight. It could be as simple as visiting a park or curling up with a good book. There are plenty of ways you can recharge and refresh without leaving town.

3. Make More Use of Friends

Friends can help you in your carbon-cutting efforts, especially if they live near you. Living close by makes it easy for friends to carpool or bike together to work and school. Creating a group of environmentally conscious friends committed to a low-carbon lifestyle will strengthen your resolve, provide fun socializing opportunities, and motivate each other toward environmental goals. You can also use social media to promote your healthy lifestyle.

4. Reduce Meat Consumption

While scientists aren’t exactly sure how much meat is too much, it’s clear that the consumption of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) has a big impact on health and climate. The livestock industry generates massive emissions — 14.5% of all greenhouse gases emitted today.

5. Reduce Energy Use at Home

One of your most important contributions to fighting climate change starts at home. By making simple changes such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs and turning off lights and appliances when you leave a room — you can substantially reduce your energy use.

6. Reduce Your Company’s Carbon Footprint

If you’re not using renewable energy sources, a carbon calculator can help your business determine how much greenhouse gas you produce and determine your carbon footprint. Then create a timeline of how you’ll become more environmentally conscious and achieve sustainability goals through product mapping.

One way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint is to create an efficient invoicing process. You can make clear, easy-to-read custom invoices using an online invoice generator. You can quickly create great-looking invoices with custom colors, graphics, and text in minutes. Then you can download them to use as you like.

7. Relieving Anxiety

First, try to stay informed without worrying too much. While there’s a lot of talk about climate change, there’s still time to reduce carbon footprints and lessen the impact. Second, try creating a plan of action. If you’re still feeling anxious, try meditating or practicing yoga. Apps like Headspace offer guided meditation that’s accessible and easy to do anywhere. The practice can help improve your mood and lower your anxiety. Get out into the forest for a hike or visit the Ocean or a lake. Exercise and spending time in beautiful green environments are proven ways to relieve anxiety.

8. Start an Eco-Friendly Business

A great place to direct your personal energy is by starting an eco-friendly business that can both raise awareness and protect the environment. You can create an S Corp in California, which is either an LLC or corporation, for your business with the help of a formation company. An S Corp can help you save money on self-employment taxes to be able to do more good work.

Ease Your Stress

With climate change, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed. But there are things you can do to ease your stress and combat global warming. For more ways to help, check out Forest Unlimited today!

Should We Plant or Protect?

The short answer is: both.  However, it is good to understand that, in terms  extracting climate-changing carbon dioxide from the air, protecting existing mature forests is more effective than planting small seedlings.  It will take decades for a seedling equal the carbon storage of a mature conifer.  Unfortunately we don’t have decades to head off the disasterous effects of climate change.  This video by our friends in Napa County says it better than I can:Watch their video 



Letter to Board of Supervisors Supporting a Tree Ordinance

May 5, 2021

Dear Supervisors and Staff:

We are writing on behalf of our approximately 1500 Forest Unlimited supporters. We have worked locally for over 25 years to protect watersheds from irreversible impacts of irresponsible logging and planted over 34,000 redwoods on protected properties with hundreds of volunteers.

Forest Unlimited members are participating and watching the County’s current effort to update the tree protection policies.  In that spirit, while the existing tree policies are reviewed and a new policy adopted, we urge the County of Sonoma to act swiftly and cease issuance of tree removal permits to prevent further destruction of trees, woodlands, and forests. As climate science tells us, existing trees are a large part of the climate saving-equation drawing down large quantities of the harmful carbon we continue to emit in large quantities (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,  Moomaw, Ph. D. et al.  Intact Forests in the United States: Proforestation Mitigates Climate Change and Serves Greatest Good).

Science tells us that we have only ten years for making significant gains. Trees that are 10 years or older translate into time, this is the time we need to make the necessary adjustment to mitigate climate change impacts. Therefore, all trees at least 10 years of age must be preserved across the county’s landscape. Protected trees will provide substantial services to the community and future generations.

Major Long-term Economic and Community Safety Considerations

* Climate change is adversely affecting our existing community, our farms, and our watersheds;

• Reversing climate change is of the highest concern and effective measures to contribute to that effort must be implemented;

• Drastic reductions in emissions and drawing down carbon are critically important in that effort;

• Existing trees drawdown carbon immediately and on a large scale;

• Compromising our ability to drawdown carbon should not be an option at this time;
• Existing woodlands, forests, and trees must be preserved with minor exceptions (e.g. trees close to homes);

The Protection of Trees

Currently, Sonoma County permits large numbers of tree removal proposals on a yearly basis.
This is true despite the many valuable functions trees provide to the community including:

• Protection of our shared clean water supply insofar as woodlands of all sorts help infiltrate water into the aquifers for well owners and stream flows, reduce soil erosion by protecting soils from runoff of stormwaters, and help moderate soil heating and soil loss from extreme solar exposure deep ripping, etc.;

•  Mature trees are more fire resilient;

• Trees provide free services to the community and are better than “shovel ready” because they are doing critical work for us already;

• Mature trees sequester by far more carbon than seedlings and saplings;

• Woodlands support very high levels of biodiversity which is critical to humans as well as other species;

• Protecting trees safeguards soil and groundwater through their deep root structure and works in combination with canopy shade that also provides micro-climate enhancement;

• Trees create wet weather systems that we need on large and small scales; and

• The upper canopy of woodlands cool the soil below and facilitate absorption of rainfall into the ground for human and other uses.

Actions Required

• Refrain from issuing tree removal permits until such time as the County has in place a Comprehensive Tree Protection Policy that is based on the latest climate science;

• Create County policy so that mature trees are of the highest value to the health and safety of our community in the fight to rein in climate change.

• Ensure that the new policy is fair–projects and proposed activities will be treated the same and existing mature trees, woodlands, and forests will be presumptively protected;

• The County should look at narrow exceptions for creating reasonable defensible space around individual homes for fire protection (see Jack Cohen, Ph. D.);

Forest Unlimited has, and especially now, views all mature trees as highly valuable and urges the County of Sonoma to move forward a comprehensive and climate appropriate protection policy that honors our children and begins the long process of mitigating past and ongoing development activities.

We look forward to a successful update process that is based on the climate science.


Larry Hanson
President of the Board of Directors
Forest Unlimited