I’ve always been a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes canon, in fact I played the Great Detective at a haunted house several years ago. Among the cases referred to but never chronicled by Dr. Watson was that of the Giant Rat of Sumatra. I think I know now who that is. Asia Pulp & Paper, or APP. They’ve been shaving the rainforest off that island and wiping out habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, a unique subspecies, as well as the Sumatran rhino, and the orangutans that live there. Their efforts have also led to direct and sometimes intentional deaths of some of the estimated 400 tigers still left, including one just recently that was trapped in a snare and died during a rescue attempt. See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/endangered-sumatran-tiger-dies-in-trap-on-app/blog/35859/ for more information.
My old outfit Greenpeace has been working on getting Mattel, the toy company famous for Barbie dolls, to stop getting their paper for packaging from APP. Mattel has so far stopped using them, temporarily, to assess the “alleged” rainforest destruction. There’s nothing “alleged” about it. The facts are known. Today I’m going on a Greenpeace awareness-raising event at Toys “R” Us to educate consumers about this issue. If we can get giant corporations to institute internal policies to stop using sources that cause environmental destruction, instead of playing a shell game and just switching suppliers, it wipes out the market for unsound practices and helps put a stop to them. The L.A. Times did a recent article on this issue that’s worth reading, see it here at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/10/business/la-fi-mattel-greenpeace-20110610.
I have nothing against Mattel, I played with their various toys as a kid. I have nothing against Disney, also implicated, as are probably all sorts of smaller companies (although Disney’s never been the same without Walt). The point is that it’s too easy for these mega-corps to have blinders on and not be good environmental citizens unless WE hold their feet to the fire, and that’s what today’s about. I hope you’ll all get involved in these issues and help save that next tiger. Only 399 left now.