Leahy speaks with NYT about wood banks

Jessica Leahy, a University of Maine professor of human dimensions of natural resources, spoke with the New York Times for an article about wood banks. Wood banks, like food banks, offer free wood for home heating to people in need. “Lots of people are on the edge of poverty and cannot afford unexpected events: a tree falls on your house or the power is out and your pipes freeze,” Leahy said. “Heating their homes becomes one of those things that is especially hard to cover.” Leahy and a former student, Sabrina Vivian, authored a guide about how to start and operate a wood bank in 2015. The publication inspired the opening of a wood bank in Castine. There has been some concern about carbon emissions released from burning wood contributing to climate change. Leahy said in an ideal world, people would have access to modern stoves that burn little emissions, great insulation, working smoke alarms and non-fossil fuel options for heating. “But really, we need smart portfolios that make sense for the areas that exist. For rural areas, wood banks make sense,” she said. “How do we keep people from freezing tonight?”