Earth School Kids Say No to Kleenex!

by Guest Blogger

March 24, 2009

Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark have announced the successful resolution of the Kleercut campaign as the maker of Kleenex has established a new sustainability policy focused on protecting Endangered Forests. Go to www.greenpeace.org/kleercut to find out more!

Kleenex Free Earth School!

Earth School, located at the Hilltop Hanover Farm Childrens Environmental Education Center in upstate New York, offers a place for children to run, play, and learn lessons in sustainability. Barbara Sarbin founded the Earth School and the non-profit that operates the school, Something Good in the World, to give both public schooled and home schooled students a place to attend environmentally-themed educational programs.

In this video, the students at Earth School excitedly share their school adventures and commitment to protecting the environment. Because of this commitment, they have stopped using Kleenex tissues at their school, replacing them with recycled alternatives.

The students first learned about the Kleenex Free Schools campaign through their teacher, Barbara. The class did their own research on the destruction of old growth forests caused by tissue-giant Kimberly-Clark, maker of tissue products like Kleenex, and decided to rid their school of these destructive products.

Kimberly-Clark uses wood fiber from ancient forests, which are essential in fighting climate change and providing home to wildlife like caribou, wolves, eagles and bears, to make its disposable paper products. The Boreal forest is being flushed down the toilet because Kimberly-Clark refuses to improve its logging practices and incorporate recycled fiber into is products. If you want to get Kleenex out of your home, office, or school, check out the new Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper guidea listing of forest-friendly products that use recycled content and do not destroy ancient forests. (Major media recently picked up the guide and Kimberly-Clark’s practices, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Fast Company.)

After seeing this video, I was so inspired I called the students of the Earth School to thank them for their efforts to make the world a greener place. Their enthusiasm was inspiring. Robert (8) was upset when he learned trees were cut down to put into Kleenex boxes. Jared (9) echoed that sentiment, saying this practice is unfair and he would be mad if [he] were an old growth tree going into a tissue box. The students said they used alternative tissue brands because they contain recycled content.

Jared also told about the Pedal-a-Watt, an electricity-generating bike the students ride to charge a battery that operates a heater, which melts ice when it forms in the chicken coops watering trough. One minute of riding equals one minute of electricity. According to Maeve (10), the chicken coop has a green roof, a bunch of plants that do not need water, keeps the coop cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.

Nicholas (8) and Anya (9) explained that their compost lasagna is layers of waste from the kitchen, newspaper, leaves, and manure (also known as sheet mulch). Nicholas added that the compost pile is a buffet for the worms, which aid in speeding up the decaying process. The garden receives the benefits of the compost pile and is watered from the catchment of the rain barrel. The rain barrel, says Luke (8), is attached to a drip irrigation hose. The garden is also watered from a pond pump, which, Jared explains, is powered by the seesaw the students ride. A solar panel is also used to generate power to run a fountain, which helps keep the pond water moving and algae growth at bay.

The plants in the garden are xeriscaped. That means, as Jeremy (9) describes it, that the garden consists of local plants that do not need a lot of water, are not invasive, and the deer do not eat. Also, Sophia (9) noted, their Three Sisters Garden, containing corn, squash, and green and purple beans, is similar to those of the Native Americans. The three plants work together, Nicholas added: the corn grows straight up, the beans grow up on the corn, and the squash grow along the ground under the other two.

Earth School shows us in their video and explains to us how to be sustainable, inventive, and Kleenex-free!

Until the Forests are protected,

Andrea

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