Welcome to the Amazon!
Everybody loves Amazon. If you don’t, you are lying. Who wouldn’t want to buy something more cheaply than anywhere else and have it delivered to your door? My husband has ordered everything from a flat-screen TV to shampoo, and he’s not alone. For him and many Americans, Amazon *is* Santa Claus. Me, I’m like babies and cats…I have more fun with the box and the packing material than what came in it. Particularly useful for papier-mâché are those seemingly endless anacaondas of paper. Friends and family save them for me to help me out (and assuage their guilt for buying so much stuff on Amazon).
One of my most recent endeavors involved creating a tree stump for my pignome to stand on. I started with a recycled plastic bucket, a cardboard coffee can, and miles of Amazon anacondas, which were perfect for bark. I liked how it turned out well enough to think of it as a piece of artwork rather than simply a prop, which got me thinking. Although, the company is named for the river and its tributaries, I associate Amazon with deforestation, which leads to me ask, how many trees does Amazon cut down to deliver all those packages to all those people? And how many trees died to make my reconstituted tree stump? This is not the first time I have asked myself these questions, or the first time I have reconstituted a tree from post-production tree products (see This is Not a Tree).
After a few Internet searches, I’m, well, stumped. Most of the information about Amazon is written by Amazon. From the little third-party information I could glean, the packing materials are about the only nod to being green that Amazon currently does. And that was a result of complaints from customers who were frsutrated because their packages were too hard to open.
Greenpeace gives low grades to Amazon on their green report card, mostly for using dirty energy to power their warehosues and a complete lack of transparency (apparently, even the CIA files a carbon footprint report card every year; Amazon does not). Read more here. While Greenpeace has their own agenda, an article in Forbes seems to corroborate this information.
Do I think that Amazon is an evil giant clubbing baby seals and destroying the rainforest? Of course not. Still, it is disheartening to discover that our beloved Santa Claus is not doing the right thing on his own. Guess we’ll have to punch him in the pocket book, or support the organizations that do.