Environmentalists were thrown onto the defensive yesterday when it emerged that garden benches, tables and chairs made from Amazonian hardwoods were incredibly popular with the very people whose homelands are being destroyed by illegal logging.
‘Deforestation has destroyed the land of my ancestors said Xingu, an Amazonian tribesman from the remote Tumucumaque valley. ‘I have nowhere to hunt, to find wood for fire or shelter. But you have to admit, this colonial style garden seat with matching drinks table is a bargain at just $44.50. I don’t know how they do it at that price.’
Despite efforts to ban the trade in Amazonian hardwoods, many furniture manufacturers continue to use materials obtained from the diminishing rainforests. Environmental groups have attempt to organise boycotts against companies that still used protected Amazonian hardwoods. Greenpeace will be embarrassed that many of the threatened indigenous tribesmen of the Amazon are so impressed with the quality and good value of the wooden furniture produced in defiance of their protected status.
‘It makes me sort of proud’ said Xingu. ‘To think that something as useful as this drop leaf garden table came from wood logged here. Why couldn’t my ancestors ever make anything as useful as this fully adjustable teak sun lounger?’
When an area of rainforest has been cleared of trees it is often used for grazing for cattle, with the resulting low-cost beef being used by global burger chains. ‘So we can sit round our teak picnic table under the telescopic parasol and have a slap up McDonald’s meal for only $4.99,’ said Xingu. ‘Life doesn’t get any better than this!’