Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: March 8th, 2012
Why which toilet paper you choose matters

Photo by J Henry Fair of Kayford Mountain, WV. See the exhibition online at Forward Thinking

I’m glad you’re reading this. If you’re like me, too often we don’t want to know about issues that make us uncomfortable and out of our realm of control. But the longer I live and read about what we are doing to the environment as a global society, the more convinced I am that small actions can and do add up, and consequently, can bring out monumental change.

Take the toilet paper you buy. Seems like a preference thing, doesn’t it?

I share with you some thoughts of a fellow blogger from EgoCentric, who interviewed an award-winning photographer who takes to the air to get a birds eye view of the destruction incurred by such mining techniques as mountaintop removal. The tops of mountains are basically sheared off to get to the coal below.

What happens to the ecosystem?

The deforestation involves taking the forests, soil, rocks and land forms are thrown down the side, where they clog natural streams and decay existing ecosystems. Hey, you wouldn’t toss your garbage out your back door. Why is this OK?

How does toilet paper factor into this?

Well, our consumption of paper products is at an all time high. And not using recycled paper products means consuming products made from trees. And using energy from fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, that have to be mined.

“Again, toilet paper is such a perfect example. The most important decision you can make in a day is which toilet paper to buy. I’m trying to show people consequences, because the consequences of these purchase decisions that we make are obscured from us. Producers don’t want you to know that if you buy that nice poofy, white toilet paper you’re destroying the habitat for the nice wolves and the bears you love to watch on the nature channel and causing climate change and air pollution and water pollution and water depletion. I mean paper is one of the worst things we do to the planet. And who thinks about it?” So says J Henry Fair, the photographer, whose shocking photos are featured online. Click here.

What makes the toilet paper white? Dioxin, which is created in the bleaching of wood pulp. Think about that next time you buy a roll.

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