Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wipe Yourself, Kill a Spotted Owl

We race through natural resources in ways that are so second nature to us that we don't even think about it. Take toilet paper. You are cutting down trees for this. Where do those trees come from? What is the effect on the Earth every time you (or I!) go for the extra soft double ply?

The environmental damage from toilet paper is massive.

Some of the paper comes from tree farms. But way too much comes from virgin or second-growth forest that we need for many other reasons--fighting climate change first and foremost.

What options do we have? Recycled toilet paper is a great idea. 19th century Americans used corn cobs, supposedly the origin of the term "corn hole." Maybe we don't want to go that old timey. But the great boreal forests of Canada are coming down every time you wipe yourself. We need to think hard about just how we impact nature and do what we can do mitigate the damage our existence causes. This is certainly one area where we can sacrifice a little bit of comfort, if that is indeed the right word for two-ply, super soft toilet paper, to take a significant step in saving the planet from destruction.