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Buying Toilet Paper – A Decision in Justice?

November 2, 2009

By Rose Marie 

Is buying toilet paper a justice issue? A few weeks ago, I saw an article in the local newspaper about how most toilet paper is made from old growth trees. I had never really thought about toilet paper before. When I am doing the buying, I always buy Scott tissue; my mother always bought this brand. I told the two other Sisters I live with about this article. Amid much laughing and joking, we decided to try out Seventh Generation and Marcal, two brands made with recycled paper.

The newspaper article had the subtitle: Do the ends justify the trees? Is this a philosophical ethical decision? Maybe, but I prefer to think of decisions such as this as a decision about relationships. Are we in right relationship with our mother Earth? What are right relationships? Perhaps the prophet Micah tells us as he says: “This is what God asks of you, only this, to act justly, love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Perhaps environmental issues don’t quite seem to fit into Biblical times but environmental degradation is most harmful to those who are poor. So I am not thinking of earth as separate from poverty or racism or violence. But I am considering how my daily decisions affect the earth and those who are poor.

And sometimes this challenges me to move out of my comfort zones.

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