With good news about global warming in short supply, it's heartening to learn that Kimberly-Clarke has agreed to stop destroying forests to make Kleenex and its other disposable paper products.
This announcement came to me from Greenpeace which has been waging a long campaign they dubbed "Kleercut" to bring public pressure to bear against the manufacturer. Forests are major absorbers of carbon dioxide, and it's imperative that we harvest timber only in ways that sustain them. The success of Greenpeace reinforces my feeling that despite the continuing obstacles and nay-sayers, we now have a critical mass of people in the U.S. who understand the urgency of global warming.
Most people who know me would never call me Pollyanna, but it certainly is true that my view is affected by the people I work with and socialize with, my chosen people, if you will. And my people, along with millions like us in the U.S. and around the world, are engaged in all manner of personal life-style changes to live more gently on the earth, as well as being deeply involved in local, national and global efforts to preserve our beautiful green planet.
The changes range from people picking up after their dogs (helping to prevent bacterial contamination of the bays around here) to doing veggie barbecues instead of grilling that predictable steak (thereby helping to cut carbon dioxide emissions that come from raising so many cattle). All these changes come out of a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all life.
In the case of Kleenex, good people, mobilized through Greenpeace and other organizations like the National Resources Defense Council, have brought public opinion to bear on Kimberly-Clarke, resulting in this announcement from Greenpeace:
"Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of obtaining 100 percent of the wood fiber for its products — including its flagship brand, Kleenex — from environmentally responsible sources. By the end of 2011, the company will no longer use any pulp from the Boreal Forest unless it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified. The policy also prevents the company from cutting endangered forests, and increases the company’s use of FSC-certified pulp and recycled fiber globally. (The statement continues:)
With this announcement, Kimberly-Clark, the largest tissue company in the world, becomes a sustainability leader. Now it’s time for Georgia-Pacific and Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark’s main competitors, to create their own policies to protect ancient forests."
Kudos to Kimberly-Clark!
But for a minimum of 18 months, if they are as good as their word, Kleenex and other Kimberly-Clark products may still be made from unsustainable cutting of the boreal forests, a term which refers to the evergreen forests of the northern hemisphere that lie between the tundra and the forests of trees that lose their leaves in winter.
Until then, and maybe after, I'll continue to buy Marcal toilet paper and tissues because they've been using only recycled paper for years to make their products . (For a list of sustainably produced paper products, go to the NRDC's web site.)
Of course, my optimism about the future won't stop me from writing letters to President Obama, calling members of Congress, and using my buying power to prod manufacturers to see the world green. But I do take heart from the Greenpeace success.
If we don't let ourselves be discouraged, we can pass on a beautiful world to our children and generations beyond.