This might not be my typical approach to this Chair Message, but I'd like to raise awareness of an important, albeit somewhat sensitive, issue. (Pun intended!)
When I lived in Bolivia as a teenager, we used toilet paper made from sugar cane residue. It was gray and kind of rough, but it worked. And, it made sense to use these left-overs as a resource. When I was studying in Rome during college, we ladies got alarmed when our backsides started turning black. It turned out it was the pieces of newspaper we were given for our toilet paper that caused the problem.
Needless to say, most of us now use cushy paper, some of it even quilted! But, it comes at a big cost to our forests—especially the boreal forests of Canada. Many millions of acres have been cut to literally flush down the drain, threatening indigenous communities and wildlife who rely upon these forests. And these forests provide the vital service of carbon sequestration.
Do we have to give up toilet paper? Of course not. There are manufacturers who are using sustainably grown materials—even sugar cane residue, but it’s not grey and rough any more. It is actually cushy! A bamboo/cane combo is the softest I have ever used. And there is recycled toilet paper--no that doesn’t mean old toilet paper is being reused. It is recycled from OTHER paper.
So, here is what you can do: check before you buy. Look for sustainably produced brands. Help send a powerful message—the power of the purse--to companies who are destroying perfectly wonderful forests just to help us flush them down the drain. Your choice of toilet paper could literally save lives.
Read on for lots of exciting news as SEEDS sets a positive pace for 2020!