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Rock House Music Ltd felt the imperative to go green as the realm of guitar manufacturers, over the years, has also felt the pressure. Thus we evolved into the Tree of Life Guitars. To be honest we were becoming more and more despondent as we saw the bigger names moving further and further away from a conscience, where we as an earth loving vegan family felt our conscience become more and more passionate, igniting with more power, so seeing stock hanging on our walls which were causing damage to our planet and ethically a mistreated workforce, well we no longer felt it was right.
Music is a true celebration and we felt this needed to be reminded. The gentle relationship between the tree, the guitar, and man remembered. Not to take for granted the amazing gift that the trees have given us in order to create the acoustic guitar. A true celebration of the harmony and gentle balance between nature and man, the beautiFUL connection of the tree and us. So our journey began to discover sustainable ethical companies which shared our beliefs.
Over the years as the guitar manufacturers have felt the need to go green, with diminishing natural resources, the greatest challenge that they faced was that the players were not willing to compromise with tone or playability, regardless of the elements used to create the instrument. The consumer acoustic guitar market holds a huge number of real traditionalists. More and more customers are wanting to be green, but they also deserve and demand the sounds they desire.
So Tree of Life has joined forces with the companies that have the same heart, hope and outlook as us, now stocking beautiFUL pieces created using newer materials, alternative resources and reforestation efforts to maintain and grow our natural supply of woods.
One of the brands that we proudly stock is Martin. With 185 years under its belt, they have long been aware of the negative environmental impact they were having on the planet and they are in fact the leaders in the green movement, even before such a concept existed! Martins Marketing Director, Chris Thomas says “Believe it or not, as early as 1915 we started to change materials on our guitars with sustainability and being a good steward with the land and animals in mind. We stopped using real tortoise shell” and they replaced it with synthetic and 3 years on they stopped using turtles too and started to phase out the use of ivory. In the 90s they stopped purchasing Brazilian rosewood.
In 1997 they gained chain custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council to create FSC certified guitars, which is “sort of like the equivalent of organic produce, but for wood” Thomas explains. They have had many successful musicians behind them, such as Sting who in 1997 helped raise awareness about the FSC. Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine is also a massive advocate and even went to Guatemala to see where the wood actually comes from! This is a huge movement and Tree of Life are very proud to be part of it.
Martin has also partnered with various organisations to raise awareness of green initiatives. The Rainforest Alliance does a lot of great stuff with their Follow The Frog campaign where they have the frog initiative stamped on certain products. This certification gives the customer reassurance that their guitar is certified and living up to a certain standard. Martin also partners with an environmental organisation called Reverb, started by Adam Gardener from Guster. They partner with huge tours like John Mayer, Dave Mathews, and Pink and focus on the sustainability of the tour itself - zero carbon footprint, trying to keep all the energies that a tour uses to the minimum! It's awesome! Reverb raises awareness about the ‘Blood Wood’ that has been collected illegally in an unsustainable manner by forced workforces which is hugely important.
Martin is currently sponsoring the Clean Cruiser Project, which entails driving between California and Panama in first land cruisers fuelled solely by bio-diesel! This will begin in 2019 and will be made into a documentary, the intention is to plant 10,000 trees, playing their guitars along the way whilst raising awareness about bio-fuel and serious environmental concerns. Martin wants to get involved with more mainstream cultural changes and become a part of the movement and so do Tree of Life!
Along with Martin Guitars and all the companies that we support, such as Riversong, Faith, Lakewood, Larrivee, Seagull, Admira, Simon and Patrick, Guild USA, Godin which support our tick list criteria in being sustainable, ethical, FSC and green; we can hand on heart offer our customers acoustic guitars with a conscience, a piece to be collected and treasured and a future for the next generation. This is really important to us in this day and age, with the political climate and policies that are not adequately protecting Mother Earth to come together in our industry and community to the very best that we can, through what we sell and how we educate our customers and the newer generations. It's not too late, it's very exciting, join us in creating a hopeFUL, joyFUL, world full of music and celebration!!!