Imagine if the top U. S. auto manufacturers teamed up with Greenpeace to reduce their dependence on oil. The joint effort not only eased the dangerous effects of global warming, but it also pumped new life into the U. S. auto industry.
Dream on, right?
The Big Three auto makers could learn a lot from the big four guitar makers--Martin, Taylor, Fender and Gibson--that have joined Greenpeace's Musicwood Coalition. Founded in January 2006, the Coalition promotes better logging practices, particularly in the rain forest region in southeast Alaska, one of the rarest forests on the planet.
Musicwood is as much about saving profits as it is trees. Old-growth Sitka spruce, a tonal wood used in acoustic guitars, will disappear in just seven years if current logging practices continue.
The economics are clear for Christian F. Martin IV whose 174 year-old company makes guitars for musicians like Sting and John Mayer. ''If I use up all the good wood, I'm out of business.''
Fortunately, guitar sales are growing. Perhaps due in part to the industry's efforts to promote responsible forest management.
It's certainly struck a chord with me. My kids are just getting old enough to take music lessons. And while the piano and drums are great, I'll encourage them to play guitar. They can learn to play music on any instrument. But only a guitar will teach them to see the forest beyond the trees.