As Greenpeace Canada’s head forest campaigner, I’m often asked by friends, family, and people I meet: what is one simple thing I can do to protect our forests? Thanks to your support Greenpeace has been able to win many environmental victories for forests over the years, and has fundamentally changed the forest industry globally. Because of this, “green” products are more available than ever before, and there is no longer any reason that making the sustainable choice for our forests has to be inconvenient or uncomfortable. Here are five easy things you can do to keep our forests healthy.
1. Buy 100% recycled toilet paper.
The Boreal Forest, home to endangered wildlife and over a billion migratory birds, should not be razed to make toilet paper. This one is a no-brainer. Thanks to an outcry of consumers like you, practically every supermarket across the country offers a green choice. And these products are soft. There’s no difference in price. Look for “100% recycled” on the back of your package of toilet paper. Bonus marks if it says “100% post consumer recycled”, meaning the product is made from used consumer materials like newspapers and copy paper. To make this easier, download our Apple and Android Tissue Guide App.
2. Go cloth where possible
We’ve all experienced a mega-spill, and we’ve all grabbed a wad of paper towels to soak it up (parents, I’m talking to you). But these one-time use items--paper towels and paper napkins--add up to acres of forests. In my house we’ve gone paper free for these products, opting for cloth towels and napkins. Take the additional step and replace some of your facial tissue with a washable and soft cloth hankie. It’s nicer on the nose and the trees.
3. 100% recycled paper/FSC certified paper
Some people have the impression that recycled paper is rough, brown, and fibrous. That’s old news. Nowadays, getting quality recycled paper is just a matter of asking for it. Look for recycled AND FSC-certified paper. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an international independent association that Greenpeace helped found, which is responsible for verifying and certifying that forests that are considered “well-managed” from a sustainability perspective. Be aware of greenwash, FSC is the only certification for paper that Greenpeace supports - avoid other certification labels like the bogus SFI and CSA.
4 . Library card
I love books and magazines, and cannot resist curling up with a favourite read. Despite this, I try my best to avoid having my love of books impact forests; I’m lucky to live in a city with a great library system. Practically everything I want is available locally, and I can either read it online, download an audio book or check out a book that many have enjoyed before with my library card. Okay, so this may not be the most innovative tip, but in this age of cheap books available from online retailers, you’d be surprised at how many friends I have to remind of the joys of the local library.
5. Look for other FSC certified forest products
When I talk to Greenpeace supporters, I tell them to be proud whenever they see a FSC logo, whether it’s on the back of an envelope, in a magazine or on a piece of lumber at the hardware store. You made it possible for Greenpeace to help create the FSC certification system, and it’s changing forests everywhere for the better. My last tip is just to look for FSC when buying forest products. Whether it’s furniture, materials for a new deck, or stationery for your wedding, insist on FSC-certified products. One by one we can all make a difference.
BONUS TIP: Stop Resolute's destructive logging
As Greenpeace supporters, there’s one more thing you can do to help Greenpeace protect the Boreal Forest right now, and that’s to sign the pledge to #standforforests. They’re Canada’s biggest logging company, and they’re currently destroying large areas of the Boreal Forest, threatening the survival of caribou herds. They are also suing us for $7,000,000 for exposing their forest destruction. Tell Resolute to stop destroying the forest and go green instead.