Thanks to increased consumer awareness and demand, there are more “green” choices in furniture available than ever before. Pictured: A Savvy Rest organic crib mattress distributed by Furnature. Photo cred: Savvy RestEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Are there certain brands or retail stores where sustainable furniture options can be had? And what should I look for when shopping for greener furniture? — W. Cary, Trenton, NJWhile we now opt often for greener cars, appliances, household cleaners and food to up the sustainability quotient of our lifestyles, the furniture we spend all day and night in close contact with is often far from eco-friendly. The vast majority of sofas, chairs, beds and other upholstered furniture we love to lounge on contain potentially carcinogenic formaldehyde and/or toxic flame retardants and stain resistors that have been linked to developmental and hormonal maladies. And much of the wood used in desks, chairs, tables and the like (as well as in the frames of upholstered furniture) comes from unsustainably harvested lumber which contributes to the deforestation of tropical rainforests.But today, thanks to increased consumer awareness and demand, there are more “green” choices in furniture available than ever before. A good place to start the search for that perfect couch or chair is the website of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), a non-profit formed in 2006 to help develop solid standards and certification processes within the home furnishings industry. The organization has become a leading information source and network of some 400 “green” furniture makers and related retailers, suppliers and designers as well as other non-profits. Consumers looking for greener furniture can browse SFC’s membership list which features contact information and website links accordingly. Buyers beware: Just because a furniture maker is listed with SFC doesn’t mean it eschews all chemicals or unsustainably harvested wood entirely, but only that it is making strides in that direction. Consumers should still be knowledgeable about which green features they are looking for and/or which kinds of materials to avoid.Of course, with something like furniture you really need to see and feel it in order to decide whether it will work in your space. Eco-conscious consumers making the rounds at local furniture stores should keep a few key questions in mind for salespersons. Does the piece in question contain formaldehyde, flame retardants or stain resistant sprays? Is the fabric used certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard program (GOTS, which mandates that at least 70 percent of fibers are derived from organic sources and do not contain chemical dyes or other additives)? Is the wood used certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as sustainably harvested? Does the piece contain any parts or pieces that come from bamboo or reclaimed wood or recycled metal or plastic? And is it easy to disassemble into reusable or recyclable parts if it needs to be replaced down the line?If the salesperson doesn’t know the answers, chances are the piece does not pass environmental muster. Limiting your search to brick-and-mortar and Internet-based retailers that specialize in green products is one way to reduce the amount of research and self-education needed, especially because salespersons in such stores are usually up-to-speed on the latest and greatest in sustainable furnishings. Some leading national furniture chains that carry a sizeable inventory of sustainable goods include Crate and Barrel, Room and Board and West Elm, but many more single store eco-friendly furniture stores exist across the country. Some leading online green furniture retailers include Eco-Friendly Modern Living, Furnature, InMod, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, SmartDeco, Southcone and Viesso.CONTACTS: SFC, www.sustainablefurnishings.org; FSC, www.fsc.org; GOTS, www.global-standard.org; Eco-Friendly Modern Living, www.eco-friendlymodernliving.com; Furnature, www.furnature.com; InMod, www.inmod.com; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, www.mgbwhome.com; SmartDeco, www.smartdecofurniture.com; Southcone, www.southcone.com; Viesso, www.viesso.com.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: email@example.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Mary Ann Disch passed peacefully into the loving arms of the Lord on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Springs in Richmond, Indiana. The bright blue eyes that always twinkled with love and just a touch of mischief, her ever present smile, and her sweet and kind disposition will be an everlasting blessing and legacy to those who have been lucky enough to have the privilege of knowing her.Born on March 7, 1929 to Elizabeth and Arthur Hemke in Weisburg, Indiana, twenty years later she married Herbert Riehle, who had 10 brothers and five sisters, all of whom grew up in a two bedroom log cabin which they referred to as the Homestead. She reveled in being welcomed into the huge family, and loved time spent on the original family farm in Sunman with her husband’s brother Vesty, and his wife Ruth.Herbert and Mary Ann loved camping all across the United States, breeding Dachshund dogs, playing euchre, and picking apples and making apple cider every fall. Mary Ann took the train to Cincinnati to become a licensed cosmetologist, adding yet another skill to her creative repertoire, which already included gardening, floral designing, painting and sewing. But the highlight of their marriage was adopting their two children, Tom and Janie. Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities were cheerfully added to their list of hobbies. Years later, she shared her bragging rights to anyone who listen about Tom achieving Eagle Scout and his dedication to his hobby, Living History, and Janie’s singing and career as a Master Chef.But heartbreak befell the family in 1971 when Herbert passed away of a heart attack. The Hemke family stepped up to help out, and Tom and Janie recall fond memories of being taken to ball games and sports and family activities, especially by Aunt Colletta and Uncle Cletus Weber and their 12 children. In the ensuing years, Mary Ann would return the favor by helping out in a caregiver role, helping to schedule appointments or rides as needed.A devoutly religious woman, Mary Ann kept the faith and never missed a Sunday at church. That’s when the miracle happened. As she walked up the aisle to Communion, Jack Disch, a widower with four children, saw her and “instantly fell in love” as he described it. He immediately asked her out to dinner. Suddenly, Tom and Janie found themselves waiting up for their mother to return from her date. Come to find out, they had been sitting in the driveway talking and laughing. Six months later in June, 1976, they walked down the same aisle together, this time as man and wife, with Jack’s children, Randy, Tommy, Bobby and Kathy in tow. And that’s when the real-life fairy-tale reality show started. They were often referred to as the Brady Bunch.The couple eventually built their dream home in Fairfield, where Mary Ann’s silk arrangements and art adorned the walls. They treasured the quiet moments spent enjoying ice cream in the gazebo every night, overlooking the fish pond that Jack had designed for her, surrounded by their beautiful landscaping. Christmas was always a treat, with an abundance of freshly decorated cookies and delicious food concocted by Mary Ann. The children and grandchildren opened with glee her matching expertly-stitched pajamas and handmade Santas. Or if anyone needed a haircut or perhaps a wedding dress, or showmanship clothes for horseback riding, Mary Ann was the go-to Grandma. Jack, with his no nonsense attitude, even became a curtain installer. With his quick wit and ready grin he was the go-to for everything else, hence the family dubbed him Jack of all trades. Sadly, Jack passed away in 2014 of Alzheimer’s, which would eventually take Mary Ann as well.During her time convalescing, Mary Ann won several coveted awards from Indiana University for her artistry with OMA (Opening Minds through Art).Mary Ann Disch will always be remembered for her everlasting grace, kindness and ability to infuse us with her incredible joy for life and love. Long live the beauty that she instilled in all of us.Mary Ann is survived by her children and their spouses: Tom and Cris Riehle, Janie and Dr. Robert Fleming, Bob and Teri Disch, Kathy and Dan Veit, Randy and Jeannine Disch; grandchildren and spouses Ryann Fleming, Benjamin and Casey Fleming, Emily and Kyle Oehler, Adam Riehle, Meghann and Lance Mayfield, Jarrod and Jamie Disch, Paula Reed, Kelly and Justin Jump, and great-grandchildren Maverick Fleming, River Meinsen, Remy Mayfield, Luke Mayfield, Tatum Disch, Cody Fannin, Hailie Jump and Porter Jump.She is preceeded in death by her parents, Elizabeth and Arthur Hemke, husbands Herbert Riehle and Jack Disch, brother Raymond Hemke and son Tommy Disch.Visitation is scheduled at St. Paul Church (All Saints Parish) on May 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial officiated by Father Jonathan Meyer. Pallbearers are Tom Riehle, Adam Reihle, Dr. Robert Fleming, Benjamin Fleming, Bob Disch and Dan Veit.