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Andrew Lopez
MWA #2

Many factors contribute to the high demand for manufactured goods such as technology,
improved communication and increase in population. There is also a cost that goes along with
our demands. Our over indulging consumer society, rarely takes time to ask what goes into
making the product we adore so much. The clothing we wear with the popular logo, the
overpriced coffee drink to basically whatever brand that wants you to be its slave, we consume.
The executives of these factories hide the terrible truth about what goes into the manufacturing
process. They withhold the negative side effects that it causes to our environment. Everyone has
the chance to impede this ideology of senseless destruction that we as a society created. The
laborers who generate the products are at the center of it all. In the case of the Greenpeace
movement that occurred a few years back when Kimberly-Clark Corporation started to deforest
the rare, ancient boreal forests to manufacture their products. There was an advertisement
campaign focused on billboards placed outside of factories and the neighborhoods near them.
The billboards were used to persuade not only the average person but the employees who make
the paper hygiene products we use every day to induce them to think of environmentally sound
options.
Every corporation wants their employees to buy into the concept that whatever they are
doing is a great service for the masses and their products are making a better world. This modern
ideology spreads from restaurants' "service with a smile", technology making our daily lives
better or steel mills making nuts and bolts to simplify our lives. They want the worker to feel like
a "family member" and have a "can do" attitude like showing up every day for work, displaying
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their best efforts. However the employer does not want to truly show the negative impact that
occurs because of the constant need for natural resources and cutting corners to keep up with the
never ending demand of the consumer. Only top executives know what happens behind closed
doors so they can make a profit and have continued growth. The employee wants to have the
feeling of accomplishment but when environmental activists show the horrible truth about their
byproduct resulting from their hard work. This challenges the mindset of the worker: either
continue to be a good and loyal employee or be ostracized from fellow workers or their
superiors. Generally most people want to make the best decision when it comes to helping curb
the awful effects of pollution but when it comes to losing their job, what is the best decision? It
affects the moral ethics of any person choosing to lose a part of their identity so they can be part
of a social circle or be put out of the picture because you stand for something else other than the
company philosophy. It is said that our society is created so everyone is equal in thought and
opportunity but it’s more rigged than the traveling circus in town. It’s not new information but if
you have similar thoughts as with that in power, things run smoothly for you. Besides the
employer and the worker, we turn a blind eye to the awful atrocities committed on the
environment but worse to accept the notion of not caring about how products are made. However
it is not solely the responsibility of corporations, the employee but society as a whole. As a
society we focus on making the all mighty dollar and convenience rather a more efficient way
that is both green and still generate a good product for you and me.
The Greenpeace organization has a mission to change the attitudes and the behavior of
not only employees but society as a whole. It is this type of approach needed to shape the minds
of all the residents of this planet by changing the focus of “someone will clean it up for me” or
"someone will take care of it" mentality. Sociology explains this as the tragedy of the commons.
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However looking at it on a larger perspective this type of thinking is growing at an alarming rate
especially with the younger generation. Some will argue that it is useless to bother with
environmental issues because it will continue to be destroyed and more is on the way.
Greenpeace strives to bring awareness of the depletion of natural resources, increased pollution
and creating a strong emotion that people will act on this and begin to demand for change. They
address many issues ranging from the change of climate, the wasteful destruction of over fishing,
creating a toxic free future for the next generation and for this case the protection of ancient
boreal forests like in Canada. Greenpeace launched a campaign, Kleercut, to address not only
Kimberly-Clark but also their competitors. Their objective was have these corporations stop
using wood fibers found in these ancient forests and to start producing their products made from
post-consumer recycled paper fibers.
Greenpeace ran a strategic campaign against the Kimberly-Clark Corporation who was
tearing down such forests around the world to produce the paper products we all use at home for
our families. First the locations of these billboards were seen outside of factories and the
neighborhoods where workers reside. These are prime locations to have people see the billboard
and read its message in a reasonable amount of time. Although there’s more to it but the basic
message is reach to them about the deforestation of ancient forests and it is enough to begin a
discussion. It is enough of a point to make people wonder about how their products are slowly
destroying what's little left of their forests and to begin to question other manufacturing
practices. A goal is to have the consumer make an informed choice on a product and considering
the environmental affects the production has on our natural resources. Are they thinking about
better ways to recycle, envisioning ways to reuse things for the community or even the idea of
recycling? Nobody wants to feel like the “tree burner” in the neighborhood and be pushed out of
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the inner circle because they were not being considerate to what is happening to the environment.
We can debate whether or not global warming is a real issue but the lack of trees is an indicator
that something is not being done to preserve nature and forming a greener future.
Greenpeace uses their logo at the bottom of the advertisement adding credibility. The
target audience will feel at ease knowing that Greenpeace is a well-organized group of people
trying to make the world a better place for everyone to enjoy. Using a simple yet bold statement
in the billboard such as, “How to Destroy Canada’s Ancient Boreal Forest, in three easy steps:
pull out a Kleenex facial tissue, put it to your nose and blow”. This was very successful in
making people feel part of the problem by tying it to a normal, everyday product: tissues. When
using a roll of paper towels or a box of tissues, normally it is thought that it is not that much but
we never think about it exponentially. However hundreds of thousands of people in this country
alone use eighty-six million tons of paper every year and only about twenty-two percent is
recycled. The least we can do is a better job at recycling. However as a country we are lacking in
practices that preserve our forests which are harvested every day. On the box of tissues there are
pieces of cut logs on it and a great metaphor for this situation: every box of tissues you use
represents all the cut pieces of timber that was destroyed for your tissue. It is a simple yet
powerful image depicting the senseless destruction happening around the world and yet we never
really think about it.
People have become walking billboards displaying numerous brands. Has the
individuality of the person been lost and replaced with brand names? It’s no longer that a person
can be different by wearing or having whatever brand item but now we must comply with buying
the most sought after brand. If not your social circle dwindles because you’re too weird or poor
that you can’t afford “nice” stuff. We are bombarded with advertisements that entice us on how
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we must look; dress and how certain products will make us a better person. This seriously affects
the worker because everyone is out to make a living in these difficult times in the economy and
still keep face with their peers however well knowing that they are doing a bad thing and helping
the people responsible for it. Should the laborer throw their ideals out the window and get back
to work or stand with others who oppose this destruction of ancient landmarks that came way
before we could even manufacture paper in numerous amounts?
During this campaign to raise awareness of better methods of production for paper
products Greenpeace did not just use billboards placed around factories but other ways of
bringing awareness. They attempted to reach the younger generation of our society by having
rallies at twenty two universities. The goal was educate on greener methods as alternatives to be
used instead of tearing down forests and create a strong voice to persuade Kimberly-Clark to
have an environmental attitude for the benefit of our planet. They also impressed about five
hundred companies to boycott using any of Kimberly-Clark products in their stores until
Kimberly-Clark changes their manufacturing practices.
I believe that the billboard advertisement helped convey the message to the employee
who helps manufacture the paper products. Greenpeace they should actively recruit these
employees at rallies or provide the voice to the workers who struggle with cutting down of so
many trees. By having a rally of workers who have a similar mindset with Greenpeace it could
open discussions much sooner with Kimberly-Clark if the workers have spoken up about the
depletion of the forests. The advertisements appeal to the humanity of workers and the consumer.
Most companies are trying to have a more thoughtful approach to corporate, social responsibility
and soon finding that consumers appreciate a manufacturer that focuses on a healthier and more
productive world. It is such a better idea to do production in this manner because not only does it
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provide a better environment but also an incentive for other companies to “step up” their game.
By having a positive vision for their work, the worker can be healthier, have peace of mind and
feel better about themselves while working for a company that takes the environment as a
priority.
As society grows, more problems rise to the surface. Corporations are fixated on making
profits and consumers want the latest product. Instead of designing better practices or improving
upon them, the focus is on increasing the profits of big corporations and their stockholders in this
world. However we could blame solely the corporations but we need to share the responsibility
as well. Instead of focusing and improving an institution or product that would be more
beneficial, we choose to go with something that is lucrative. Hopefully one day we can correct
our past mistakes and make decisions that are beneficial for all aspects of life and this planet.