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Uh Oh. Kids Books are Killing the Planet

You walk to the park. You buy the right toilet paper. You cut out meat. You don’t just recycle, you reduce and reuse. But your efforts to live green might come into conflict with a certain truism of raising smart kids. All those books you stock their shelves with — so that the grow up literate and smart and destined for college? Those books have got a carbon footprint worse than you could imagine.

Even the so-called “green” ones. And the ones about rainforest destruction!

The Rainforest Action Network released a study today implicating children’s books in the continued destruction of endangered rainforests in Indonesia. In fact, the study found that the majority of the top 10 children’s book publishers has released a title that tested positive for tree fibers from Indonesian rainforests including, tragically, a book on endangered rainforests!

RAN examined 30 books for the controversially fiber and found that 18 tested positive. Children’s book publishers, as well as those printing color coffee table books, have turned to printers in China to contain costs. Even those publishers that have made public commitments to more environmental practices turned out books that contained fibers connected with the rainforests.

There are workable printing alternatives, according to RAN. But unregulated industries and inconsistent screening efforts aren’t working.

Unfortunately, the report doesn’t name titles that tested positive for the fibers. I’d love to know who to pressure or boycott. Of course, the safest way is to buy books used and check them out from the library. But then there’s this study to parse and keep in mind. Kermit the Frog was so right about the ease with which it is not to be green.

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Photo: RAN.org

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