The sun was shining on a Sunday morning in the almost empty downtown Pittsburgh as we arrived at the Convention Center to talk to Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference attendees. There were activists from CAPA Environmental Club and Pitt Greenpeace. We were equipped with two full body tiger suits, flyers, banners, and tons of enthusiasm to talk with Sustainability Directors about Asia Pulp and Paper’s(APP) forest and climate crimes.
Greenpeace Student Organizer, Dan Cannon, demonstrated how to explain to Sustainability Directors about APP’s Crimes (dying tigers, conflicts with local communities, an enormous carbon footprint all to make throw-away tissue products). We were there to warn Sustainability Directors about the dangers of allowing APP to supply paper on their campus. To do this we handed out more than 750 flyers and collected more than 50 business cards from Sustainability Directors so that we could continue to offer advice on sustainable paper sources.
As we set up right outside the main entrance and with our dancing tigers and banners, we became the talk of the AASHE convention. Soon the tigers began to attract pictures with different groups who all wanted a souvenir photo. Along with pictures we had many in-depth conversations with campus administrators about their campus procurement policies. The business cards kept piling up, with administrators asking for more information. We finally left at 4 pm with sore throats and the excitement from a day saving the tigers and stopping APP’s dirty business as usual.
Our AASHE action is just one way that the Greenpeace Student Network is working to make sure campuses across the US know the dangers of buying paper from APP. You can take action right now by helping block APP from the U.S. retailer market.
-Zia Kandler is the President of CAPA Environmental Club