The day the word “Kleenex” could once again be spoken in my home

Okay, I’m a Greenpeace supporter.   A lot of people have misconceptions about this worldwide organization, and I did as well until I became more involved in 2006.     I am an alumni of the Greenpeace organizing term, and although Greenpeace and I do not see eye to eye on everything, like any relationship, we manage to work together in our own simple eco-nichey way.   I support them, and they give me the heads up on the companies that are skirting environmental issues, who I then boycott. We’re quite happy together.

One of the exciting things about the Greenpeace organizing term is that each group participates in real Greenpeace campaign work.   My term participated in the Kleercut campaign.   Kleercut is a humorous twist on Kimberly Clark’s logo, one of the largest paper companies in the world who manufactures the well-known brands Kleenex, Scott, Aviva, and others.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Kimberly Clark has been deceptive about its environmental goodliness, claiming its products to be up to 90% recycled.     The sneaky buggers are referring to the recycled content of the box containing the fraudulent tissue.   What you are using to wipe away your snot and poop results in the wiping away of ancient forests, and much of it is coming from Canadian territories, such as the Quebec Boreal and Northern Ontario forests.

Unsustainably logged, the company would enter a forest and leave when all that was left was a parched, useless piece of land.   Happy treeplanters would then go into these areas, bent on re-foresting these devastated regions for the sake of the environment, but in actuality end up planting only one or two types of trees.   This leaves the area vulnerable to pests and disease often associated with monocultures.

Greenpeace has been on Kimberly Clark’s tail since 2004 to change its logging practices, and when I participated in 2006, it was still a hard-up struggle.   Not only were Greenpeace’s demands not being taken seriously at the time, our group was even followed and chased by company executives in Neenah, Wisconsin while we were on the campaign trail.

Since then, friends and family around me have giggled when I would say “tissue” instead of “Kleenex”, using the literal word for the material object I needed rather than corporate branding so ingrained in our society.   This changed on August 5th, 2009 when Kimberly Clark and Greenpeace signed a monumental deal, making Kimberly Clark one of the leaders in forest sustainability.   I heartily sent a thank you letter to the company, and urge you to do the same.

The good news doesn’t stop there.   Also on August 5th, 2009, I recieved an email from a listserve supporting efforts to save l’île René-Levasseur from logging companies.   Kruger no longer has logging rights in this region, which is a long-awaited victory for the group, Quebec forests and the Indigenous communities of these regions.   It seems like the intrinsic value of our forests are starting to be regarded seriosuly by companies who have been thwarting it for so long.

This is good news, but the struggle to protect forests in Canada and elsewhere is far from over. For now, though, it   is important to acknowledge when something is moving in the right direction.   I would still rather support Canadian companies like Cascades, however, I will gradually accept the fact that Kleenex is no longer a dirty word in my house.

6 comments

  • Interesting and informative. But will you write about this one more?

    • Thanks Peter. I placed some links in the text for further reading, check them out! I may write more about this in the future, but I’m glad you’re intereste din this issue.

  • treeplanters aren’t always happy…other than that, congratulations, that’s a big victory!

  • Thank you for a very succinct piece. you explain it so well..more please

  • the writer sounds so informed and smart… i wodner who she is…

  • Very informative indeed…. who would have thought wiping away a rain forest was as easy as wiping away a snot…

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