I am being featured on a really cool and unusual travel writing website today! It is the Rollerbag Goddess, home to the talented editor that helped to make Recipe For A Green Life, the book, what it is.
There are devastating fires happening in the Amazon Rainforest right now. Many of these fires have been started by farmers who want to encroach on the land that rightfully and largely belongs to Indigenous peoples. This is happening at a time when we are already teetering on the brink of global catastrophe due to the climate crisis (which is due to the destruction and ongoing harmful practices related to corporate agriculture, fossil fuels, and lax standards for sustainability and preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity).
Some started a hashtag today on Twitter to “pray for the Amazon”. Others immediately responded with a trending hashtag: #ActForTheAmazon. We must act. Prayers are not enough. Many are wondering why there is not an outpouring from billionaires to put the fires out, and establish greater protections for the Indigenous there, as well as the precious habitat and species that are unique to the Amazon — like there was when Notre Dame was on fire. Where are the billionaires now? This is a logical question that reveals the ugly mechanisms of systemic colonialism. To look at this further, here are some informed and responsible social media posts from the last couple days:
I share these posts, because they are coming from a place of informed integrity. They are also providing and encouraging action steps in the face of yet another devastating emergency that could leave people feeling depressed and helpless otherwise.
It is so important to keep in mind that we need to, as much as possible, provide action steps with posts that share emergency and dire situations, such as this. We cannot always do something directly, but there are many ways to effect ongoing change. We can do this through our political actions, choices, petitions, and voting. We can do this through the organizations we uphold and donate to. We can do this through our diets and daily choices, as I speak so often about here.
The Amazon is 20% of the world’s lung capacity right now, and so, this is real devastation when we are already being devastated by lack of action for environment, health, and future…when the US president is rolling back protections for endangered species, air, and water in every direction. More than that, we are losing species unique and precious to this planet due to the putrid greed and violence of industries that objectify and waste life. Not to mention the suffering of factory farmed animals fueling a lot of this greed. This is quite serious in a time of emergency upon emergency. So, please, take the following actions:
Divest from agriculture, logging, and cattle ranching that is participating in destruction and genocide.
Support Indigenous peoples around the world via social media, via organizations, and political action.
See my Resources page for more links to organizations and groups working to protect environment, animals, and people.
If you have other action steps and ideas, and important information not mentioned here, please comment. I am still learning about all the dynamics of this situation, and am doing my best to share accurate and timely information. I appreciate your understanding, and your willingness to learn and do more. Thank you!
Please note that this post is free from sponsored or paid product placement/recommendations. Like all posts on this site, when I recognize or experience a practice or product of value and importance, I share. The only advertising I will do on this site is, of course, for my book, Recipe For A Green Life. You can rest assured that there are no commercial or financial benefits or motives for anything I recommend as a resource on this site.
Deforestation: toilet paper is less sustainable than it was eight years ago
Not only are major toilet paper and tissue brands using less and less recycled paper since 2011, some are using virgin wood continuously and exclusively. For example, this means that significant parts of the boreal forest of Canada are being cut down regularly to make tissue products. This leaves the old slow-growth forest bare and devastated, and also leaves species and biodiversity devastated. The boreal forest is about 29% of the world’s forest cover, only 12% is protected worldwide, and over 30% is designated for logging and development. This makes no sense when we know that it is possible to produce 100% recycled paper products of good quality.
At the beginning of 2019 the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) came out with a report on “The Issue with Tissue.” The report relayed the following harmful impacts brought about by major brands through sourcing and producing toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue from virgin wood in the boreal forest:
Indigenous territories, way of life, and health are threatened and harmed
Species/wildlife are threatened and harmed (half of boreal caribou habitat remains)
Clear-cutting the boreal forest releases, on average, 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (12% of the emissions Canada agreed to cut each year by 2030 per the Paris Agreement)
The report also states that FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification alone cannot be a proper long-term solution, since it does not address, in a deep or thorough enough way, the needs and rights of Indigenous land and health, or the needs of species regarding habitat, biodiversity, and protection. In addition, the report includes a report card on major brands related to these ongoing dire issues and negative impacts:
Graded “F” by NRDC 2019 Report:
Charmin Ultra TP
Kirkland TP & tissue
Angel Soft TP
Quilted Northern TP
Up & Up, Soft & Strong (TP, paper towels & tissue)
In June of this year, FSC Canada implemented adjustments according to these concerns, that seek to show greater respect and protection of and for Indigenous People’s rights, as well as greater protection for species, waterways, and landscapes. However, it will depend on the demand for FSC Canada upheld products by customers in the United States as to whether this standard can make a real difference.
Additional Environmental Harm: Pollution, Toxins, and Plastic
Toilet paper production hurts our resources and health as well. Sourcing and production requires heavy use of water and energy, as well as the use of toxins like bleach, formaldehyde and organochlorines. Tissue products also come with the harm of single-use plastic waste and pollution via packaging and containers.
More Sustainable Toilet Paper
Finding toilet paper, paper towels, and tissue that will cause the least harm is the goal. Choosing a company dedicated to departure from mainstream practices adopted by major brands seems the best way to go.
After some trial and error, I have settled with the choice to order from Who Gives A Crap (WGAC) when we need these kinds of paper products. WGAC is Australian-based, with branches in the UK and the US.
What is great about Who Gives A Crap?
B corporation certified (and their overall B impact score has improved since 2016, after already being well above average)
Eliminated plastic from their line
Products are free from inks, dyes, and fragrance
Completely forest friendly, being either made of bamboo (toilet paper, paper towels, tissue) or 100% recycled toilet paper
50% of their profits are donated to organizations (Watershed, Shofco, Wateraid, Sanergy, Lwala) that provide sanitation systems/toilets to those in need
Most recent donation was $46,000
Products are sold in bulk and without plastic
Toilet paper rolls are big (400 sheets) and with 3-ply comfort
Prices are reasonable and competitive with major brands
Passion for social justice and sustainability
Colorful wrappers that can be reused and up-cycled
I first ordered a box of the 48 rolls of bamboo tp for $52, along with paper towels. The rolls are super soft and last. I was not disappointed.
Still, I realize that any sourcing of bamboo isn’t without concern. Bamboo is sustainable and renewable, however, it can take over as a monoculture, with the same problems of any monoculture. Also, a lot of bamboo comes from China, where environmental and labor welfare laws are lax.
For these reasons, I chose the 100% recycled toilet paper — $48 for 48 rolls for our second order. It is not as soft as the bamboo version, but it is just as long-lasting, and is still great quality. It isn’t too thin or too rough. Overall, I would say that this company is more than worthy of our patronage. The benefits are many, and the downsides are few to none.
I have two very important things to share with you today. The first is a quick call to action by signing a petition (started by Center for Biological Diversity) to the EPA asking for new rules for plastic manufacturing facilities and their impact of devastation pollution in our water and ocean. All pertinent facts are included in the introduction and petition itself. It is known that big plastic producers intend to increase plastic production in the next ten years.
Add your voice to this important movement, and share:
Second, there is a stirring video out by Extinction Rebellion, and presented by Harrison Ford that is everything to me right now. If you watch one thing this week, watch this video, embedded below. If, for some reason you cannot watch the video, there are subtitles, or, I have the transcript of the video below. However, the images and the passion and tenor of Mr. Ford’s voice is not to be missed. He/they speak for my heart and soul at this time.
“If We Don’t Protect Nature We Can’t Protect Ourselves”
by Harrison Ford and Extinction Rebellion, published July 26, 2019
“You are here, I’m here, because we care, not just for today, but we care passionately for the future. We know that we only have the possibility of avoiding a looming climate catastrophe if people like us refuse to give up. The future of humanity is at stake. While you work to meet the challenge of climate change, I beg of you: don’t forget nature. The destruction of nature accounts for more global emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world. We can put solar panels on every house and turn every car into an electric vehicle, but as long as Sumatra burns, we will have failed. So long as the Amazon’s great forests are slashed and burned, so long as the protected lands of tribal/Indigenous people are allowed to be encroached upon, so long as wetlands and bog peats are destroyed — our climate goals will remain out of reach, and we will be shit out of time. If we don’t stop the destruction of our natural world, nothing else will matter. Why? Because protecting and restoring forests, mangroves, wetlands — these huge dense carbon sinks — represent at least 30% of what needs to be done to avoid catastrophic warming. It is, at this time, the only feasible solution for absorbing carbon on a global scale. Simply put — if we don’t protect nature, we can’t protect ourselves. This is what we need to do — we need to: include nature in every corporate, state, and national climate goal; put in place the plans, the timetables to meet those goals; invest in mangroves and tropical forests; in the same way, invest in renewable energy; work to end the destruction of these ecosystems, and commit in the next decade, to secure them for the future; pursue research in reforestation, like we pursue research in carbon capture and storage; set a goal to cut costs and increase scale dramatically; empower Indigenous communities to use their knowledge, history, imaginations, our science, to save their heritage and lands — respect and ensure their rights. Stop, for god’s sake, the denigration of science. Stop giving power to people who don’t believe in science — or worse than that, pretend they don’t believe in science for their own self-interest. They know who they are; we know who they are. We are all — rich or poor, powerful or powerless — we will all suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction. We are facing what is quickly becoming the greatest moral crisis of our time — that those least responsible, will bear the greatest costs. So never forget who you’re fighting for — it’s the fishermen in Colombia, the fishermen in Somalia — who wonder where their next catch is coming from and why the government can’t protect them from factory fishing from across the world. It’s the mother in the Philippines who’s worried that the next big storm is going to rip her infant out of her arms. People on the East Coast are facing the worst storms in recorded history. It’s our own country, our own community, our own families. This is the core truth: if we are to survive on this planet, the only home any of us will ever know, for our climate, for our security, for our future — we need nature. Now, more than ever. Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature. Let’s turn off our phones. Let’s roll up our sleeves and let’s kick this monster’s ass.
Harrison Ford and Extinction Rebellion, Jul 26, 2019 (transcript for the video, embedded above)
If these rules pass, all manufacturers of GMOs won’t have to report experiments and other activity to the USDA or to organic farmers who are nearby. Not only would this make new GMOs that are introduced unsafe, it is an unethical and unjust proposal.
Currently, the USDA will be taking comments from the public regarding the proposed rules (Docket No. APHIS-2018-0034-0037), where the USDA would allow self-regulation for GE companies and crops.
Take Action Now Submit Your Comments By August 6th:
Cornucopia Institute recommends that you form your own comments based on their suggestions, if needed. Here is a link to their action alert for suggestions on what to write.
And here is the link to submit your comments. The deadline to comment is 11:59 pm EST, August 6th, 2019.
Whether you are just starting out or not, and even though it is about mid-month already — it is never too late to join in on “Plastic Free July”!
Movements like this help to spread awareness, and motivate each of us to do more in response to the crisis of plastic pollution negatively affecting ecosystems; land, water, countless species, and our bodies.
This summer, when you purchase an instant download of the Recipe For A Green Life, 2nd edition 2018 e-book, you can get up to 50% off the original price!
This is a 439 page, well researched, comprehensive guide to holistic sustainable living that includes recipes for body care, cleaning, and kind minimalist meals. Regular price for the e-book is $20, and with both discounts you get it for $10!
Follow the instructions below to get your discounted copy!
Go to this link, and click on the “share 25% discount” button. Then….
On the same page, enter the discount code for another 25% off! Discount code: RKWWZI5US8
A friend of mine recently told me about the Real Organic Project (ROP). I finally had some time to look at what they are doing. It turns out that what they are doing is nothing short of epic and heroic. I have added them to this site’s Resources page, and want to introduce you to them as well.
In their “About Us” pages, ROP explains how and when the US government led organic label came to be compromised. It also outlines their own response to this crisis. ROP are an important part of the movement to uphold real and true organic standards, practices, and labels. This includes the welfare and treatment of animals, soil, and also, identifying the inappropriate fit of the organic label for hydroponics issues and standards.
Their website includes all of their standards, who they are, Real Organic Project certified farms, and more. There are no fees to become certified by ROP, and they welcome donations. This is definitely an organization to support. Check it out!