Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mixed Bag

Ah, Saturday. I finally have a chance to catch up on some of the things that have been on my mind this week.

First, something that makes me crazy: the destruction of virgin forests by Kimberly-Clark in order to make toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper is quite literally destroying the rain forest. Since Kimberly-Clark makes the most popular brands of consumer paper products (Scott, Cottonelle, Kleenex and Viva), we're talking about a lot of trees being logged for paper towels and tissues. I had heard of Greenpeace's campaign against Kimberly-Clark but I didn't pay too much attention to it because we buy Whole Foods' 365 brand of toilet paper and 100% recycled tissues from Trader Joe's. But my Mom called the other day to say that her local newspaper ran a story about this (not available online) that included the web address to NRDC's shopping guide for sustainable alternatives. We were both (somewhat) heartened that this kind of article was run in a mainstream press even though it was buried in the Health section. Anyway, I decided to take a look at the NRDC page to refresh my mind about the issue. Two numbers speak louder than words:

  • 1.1 million: cubic meters of trees from Canada's boreal forests that Kimberly-Clark uses each year
  • 0: percentage of recycled content in grocery store brands such as Kleenex and Scott

What can we do in the face of this scale of disregard for the crucial role - as habitat, as ecosystem, as sacred places - of forests? While sending a message to Kimberly-Clark is a good idea, we all know that as long as those boxes of Kleenex are flying off the shelves it will be business as usual. NRDC has a handy shopper's guide (PDF) that you print and take to the store with you. Greenpeace has more info. on brands of paper products to buy and which ones to avoid. And spread the word. I'm thinking about getting one of these t-shirts to wear this spring. Maybe it will get a conversation going.

Next, some words that make me feel hopeful: Check out baloghblog for some inspired words from Bono on poverty, faith, Africa, and our notions of charity, equality and justive.

Finally, something I've been meaning to do: breadchick and norene have tagged me for this meme, so here goes.

  • 4 jobs I've had. I don't want to even think about my real job on a Saturday, so I'm going with these throwbacks to a simpler time when minimum wage was plenty to get me a rad outfit for the big Friday night football game: hostess at restaurant in mall; piffer (lest you think that this was something interesting,"PIF" stands for "put in file"); neighborhood baby-sitter; Girl Scout cookie salesperson
  • 4 Movies I could watch over and over. Like Norene, I don't watch movies over and over so I'll list the last four films I saw in the theater. Yes, I realize that I haven't been to the movies for a long time. Maybe I need to hire one of those neighborhood sitters...: Sideways (thumbs up); Kinsey (thumbs down); Spanglish (sideways thumb); The Yes Men (thumbs up)
  • 4 places I've lived. Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cambridge, MA; Lewisburg, PA
  • 4 Tv Shows I love. I don't really watch TV, but a few shows I've liked at various times are: Sex and the City; NOW with Bill Moyers; Victory Garden; weekend cooking shows on PBS
  • 4 Places I've Vacationed. Isla Mujeres, Mexico; London, England; Rehobeth, Delaware; Boothbay Harbor, Maine
  • 4 of my favorite dishes. any veggie falafel/tabouli/hummus combo; good ol' Tex Mex (burritos, enchiladas, fajitas); huevos mexicanos at Centre Street Cafe; dark chocolate (surely that counts as a dish)
  • 4 sites I visit daily. MSNBC; bloglines;; hotmail
  • 4 places I'd rather be. Life is pretty good on a Saturday with my husband, baby girl and dog, but some other good spots: sitting in a chair at the ocean's edge in August; in my grandmother's kitchen; on a wooded trail on an early fall day; sitting across the table from my husband at a restaurant in Mexico, margaritas in hand
  • 4 bloggers I'm tagging. I'll cheat again: feel free to play if you want to. :)


  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger Norene said…

    i'm glad you brought up the kleenex issue, lauren. i sent my message to kimberly-clark a few months ago and received a long and detailed autoreply that did not convince me of anything except that fact that they employ some pretty good pr people.

    i don't buy kleenex products for home use and haven't for many years (when i started looking on the box for recycled fiber content and couldn't find any), but i now refuse to use the boxes of kleenex tissue provided by my employer. over the course of a year, that's probably 6-12 boxes of kleenex tissue that aren't being used by me. (instead, i do a lot of sniffling. i guess i should bring in my own tissue and give my co-workers a break.)

    using virgin trees for capturing and disposing of bodily fluids is as crazy of an idea as using clean, fresh water for flushing human excrement down the toilet. oh, wait. people do that too, don't we?

    thanks for playing along with the meme...

  • At 11:52 AM, Blogger Saucony said…

    You should check out Farenheit 9/11 and put that on your list. I watched it last night and although it was sad, I now feel like I can stop watching mainstream news and stop following politics. What a relief.

  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Thank you, thank you for this post!! It ties in nicely to my third Weekly Challenge to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Once again, you've given me something to blog about today!

  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger lauren said…


    your story about not using kleenex brand tissues at work and your post about logos reminded me of a little revelation i had last week at the office. as i mentioned, we don't use k-c brand paper products at home. i recently started taking a cloth napkin to work with my lunch so that i can avoid getting paper napkins. as i was standing in the kitchenette of my office drying my breast pump parts for the zillionth time in the day with a paper towel, the kimberly-clark logo on the dispenser jumped out at me. aaahh! so every time i dry my hands or anything else at the office, i'm using a k-c product! now i'm left to ponder if i should start bringing a dishtowel into work with me. (incidentally, i think that my coworkers already think i'm off the beam...) it's amazing, but there's always another step on the path that can be taken...


    welcome! thanks for your comment. i saw farhenheit 9/11 in the theater when it came out. i left angry and saddened, as you said. i'm completely disillusioned with politics but i know that we need political change in order to accelerate the impact of the individual steps we are all taking. for example, my switch to a CFL in a lamp is nothing compared to better green power options.

    organic veggie:

    glad that i could provide a little inspiration for you this morning! i completely agree with your post. reducing and reusing are even more effective than recycling. we've got to focus on those first two Rs before we just chuck something into the recycle bin and feel good about it.


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