Have you ever opened up a children’s book and asked yourself how much rainforest was destroyed to make it? No? Me either. That is until recently, when our team, the Rainforest Free Paper campaign, decided to commission independent fiber testing of 30 top children’s books. To my surprise, the results showed that 60 percent of books (18 of 30) contained fiber linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests!
We just released a report today, entitled Turning the Page on Rainforest Destruction: Children’s books and the future of Indonesia’s rainforests, detailing the results of our book testing and the importance of Indonesia’s rainforests. The report shows that despite environmental paper policy commitments by many U.S. book publishers, nine of the top ten publishers had fiber linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction in their books.
Ironically, these books whose paper sources are endangering Indonesia’s forests and the world’s climate, have much to teach us and the next generation about the importance of the world’s rainforests and climate change. One book that tested positive for rainforest destruction, tells us, “The only true tree-dwelling apes, orangutans are found in Indonesian rain forests.” Another continues, “Orangutans have become rare partly because their forest habitat has been cut down…” Finally, another book contexts the orangutan’s plight more broadly, stating, “in 1800, rain forest covered about 15 percent of Earth’s total land area; today less than 7 percent of Earth’s total land area is rain forest. Logging and deforestation destroy rain forest habitat and threaten the wildlife that depend on it.” It continues, “After the rain forest trees are cut down, the remaining roots, stumps, and undergrowth are burned to clear the land, releasing the stored carbon into the atmosphere.”
Our report concludes by calling on the publishing industry to take leadership and ensure that rainforest destruction from Indonesia (or elsewhere) does not end up in their supply chain. To join in the action and ask U.S. book publishers to turn the page on rainforest destruction, sign our petition telling the U.S. book industry that you love books and rainforests and don’t want to choose one over the other.
For the full report, go to www.ran.org/bookreport.