Forest for the Trees

May 21, 2010

Rheanna Sand

Science in Seconds Blog by Rheanna Sand


As we all sit and watch the Gulf of Mexico become, as Bill Maher said recently, a "nice vinaigrette," there was some positive environmental news to slightly abate the tar-soaked nightmare. On May 18th, a deal was signed in Toronto by environmentalists and logging companies to protect some 300,000 square kilometres of Canadian boreal forest - an area larger than the United Kingdom. These ancient, diverse swaths of northern forest will remain unlogged, and another 385,000km will be logged under strict guidelines that follow best environmental and native cultural practices.

This deal is unprecedented in its size, and is a rare sight - a true collaboration between industry and the community. On face value at least, this agreement illustrates how environmental activism, done right, can succeed.

Case in point: in 2004, a website called began a campaign against Kimberly-Clark, one of the most widely distributed paper manufacturers in the world, and a brand that holds a virtual monopoly on laboratory paper disposables (Kimwipes, anyone?). Kimberly-Clark is the parent company of Scott Towels, and it turns out, most of the paper we wipe our counters with, and most of the paper we wipe everything else with, is made from ancient, virgin Canadian boreal forest.

The campaign, funded by Greenpeace, educated the public about this little known fact, and it was hard not to take notice. The fact that we are literally flushing our boreal forests down the toilet was enough to get me involved. I, like many others, went to grocery stores and put "100% Virgin Boreal Forest" stickers on Charmin and Royale and wrapped displays with "Ecological Crime Scene" tape. We sacrificed quilted comfort for scratchy moral satisfaction.

And now, today on, it simply says, "Victory!"

This deal does signify victory: a triumph of a more whole sense of commonwealth, which includes all things plant and animal, vegetable and mineral, microscopic to superorganism.

So….does this mean I can go back to quilted?



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