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Destroying old-growth forests for... toilet paper?

Winter-mapleThere was this thing on Facebook a couple weeks back about writing a message to the future to put into a time capsule. At the time, I couldn't think of a thing to say. Hard to believe, I know. But thanks to EnviroMom reader Elizabeth B., I now have it after reading the New York Times link she sent us about manufacturing toilet paper from non recycled sources:

Dear Survivors,
I'm sorry. Very, very sorry for the mess we left. Back in my day, times were tough, but we had these gorgeous life-giving plants called trees. I've included a picture of one that was in my front yard, called a Japanese maple. It was taken in winter, so it had no leaves, but the beautiful branches would bud out each spring, filling it with red/green foliage that created a lovely canopy of shade and light. Here's what that same tree looked like in summer:

Summer-maple

You probably have never seen one of these tree things. And that's why I'm sorry. It was because we Americans were so busy chopping them down so we could have really soft, pillow-like squares of paper to wipe our bottoms after going to the toilet. Yes, you read that right. We chopped down forest after forest of trees to wipe our posteriors of human waste. Now, we did have choices, mind you. It takes much less energy, water and industrial waste to make toilet paper from recycled paper pulp than from virgin wood. But that just wasn't soft enough for our plump rumps. We wanted to wipe our bottoms with products named Charmin Ultra and Angel Soft and Quilted Northern! According to the mouthpiece of Georgia Pacific/Quilted Northern: American customers "demand soft and comfortable" and "recycled fiber cannot do it."

So, that's really all I can say.

Very apologetically yours,
EnviroMom Renee

Is this the future you want? Do we need to become grocery store vigilantes, staging protests in front of the toilet paper displays? Well, that's a bit extreme. But you can use the Greenpeace forest friendly shopper's guide to toilet paper. And teach your kids to use tp sparingly.

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