Children's books are contributing to the destruction of endangered rainforests in Indonesia, in the US as well as in Europe. According to a new report released today by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), a majority of the top ten U.S. children's publishers have released at least one children's book that tested positive for paper fiber linked to the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests.
RAN had 30 colored children's books tested for fiber associated with deforestation in Indonesia and found that 18 of the 30 books (60 percent) contained controversial fiber, including some books that describe the benefits of rainforest conservation. .
In November, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) tested 51 German children's books made in Asia and found that nearly 40% contained mixed tropical hardwood (MTH), produced from rainforest destruction. RAN's tests point to a growing industry trend toward the overseas printing of children's books, as well as other glossy paper books like coffee table books and textbooks, on fiber that is from controversial and endangered sources.
"Considering that many publishers have already made public commitments to reduce their environmental footprint, we were surprised by the industry-wide scope of the problem. We don't think that kids and their parents want to choose between loving books and protecting the rainforest - said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network - There are clear, workable alternatives to printing on paper that destroys the world's last remaining rainforests. The publishing industry shouldn't tolerate printing even one book that contributes to rainforest destruction, species extinction and climate change."
Worldwide, the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for fifteen percent of all annual greenhouse emissions. The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia's rapid deforestation account for up to five percent of global emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in United States. This huge carbon footprint from the destruction of forests and peatlands has made non-industrialized Indonesia the third-largest global greenhouse gas emitter, behind only the U.S. and China.