Letter: Save the boreal
Steamboat Springs is a community that cares about the plant at home and afar. One issue many may not be aware of is the environmental impact of toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissues.
Procter and Gamble, maker of popular brands such as Bounty, Charmin and Puffs, has a net worth of $230 billion. But instead of using their resources to implement more sustainable practices, they create initiatives that make them appear more green while actually accomplishing little for the environment.
Despite having a “forest positive sourcing policy,” P&G allows the degradation of forests and the harmful release of chemicals during the paper bleaching process. One of the forests in peril is Canada’s boreal forest.
Logging companies cut down one million acres of boreal trees per year, which is the equivalent of 1.5 football fields every minute. These trees get turned into wood pulp, which is then sold to companies like P&G to create single use tissue products.
Americans only make up 4% of the world’s population, yet we consume 20% of the world’s tissue products. In addition, Americans consume 80% of boreal forest product exports, according to a report from the National Resource Defense Council.
At a time when counteracting climate change is urgent, we are essentially flushing the boreal forest down the toilet.
Canada’s boreal forest stores about twice as much carbon as tropical forests and each year removes the same amount of carbon as is emitted from 24 million passenger vehicles, according to NRDC.
In addition to counteracting climate change, these forests are home to over 600 Indigenous communities and provide essential habitat for birds and caribou.
Sustainable alternatives to wood pulp exist and are used by other companies. Some alternatives include creating toilet paper out of 100% recycled paper, bamboo or wheat straw.
This week, Procter and Gamble is sponsoring a climate week in New York City despite their clear lack of commitment to sustainability. I invite you to join Environment America in a digital week of action where we will demand that P&G stop harming the boreal forest and instead use sustainable sources for their products.
You can sign a petition, send emails and Tweets and write letters. The time commitment is only a few minutes. To register, click here or go to TinyURL.com/phy6y8ks. Let’s protect the forest together.
Abby Vander Graaff
Environment America intern
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Rather than protest at a rally to raise awareness of an alleged problem, Steamboat Springs High School students should file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.