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The Thongs of Mass (Forest) Destruction

Victoria’s Dirty Secret

by JOSH MAHAN

Missoula, Montana

The cat is out of the bag, Victoria has a dirty, dirty secret. The pretty pages of her catalogues are printed on the pulp of Canada’s Boreal forest, one the largest wildernesses left in the world. And we’re not talking just a couple of glossy pages here, folks. Over one million Victoria’s Secret magazines are shipped out to consumers every day. 395 million per year.

Today in Missoula a group of protesters gathered at Victoria’s Secret in the Southgate Mall to try to convince the lingerie powerhouse to maximize post-consumer recycled content in their catalogues, as well as reduce their paper usage in general. The protest was the only one in Montana, but it was synchronized with 99 other protests at Victoria’s Secret locations across the country.

Holding signs with phrases like, "Forest Destruction Is Not Sexy" and handing out fliers of supermodels with chainsaws, the Missoula group engaged shoppers, but also drew the ire of mall security guards. They were particularly upset with Jake Kreilick’s bladeless chainsaw, though it did go well with his zebra-striped nightie. Nevertheless the crew held tight and insisted upon a right to point a critical finger at the lingerie superpower.

Jeanette Russell of the Missoula-based National Forest Protection Alliance said, "It’s not very sexy to know that Victoria’s Secret catalogues contain paper made from one of the largest wilderness areas in the world. Customers don’t feel good about supporting businesses that are leaders in forest destruction, whether it’s in the Boreal or on our national forests here in the U.S."

Ted Fellman of the Native Forest Network was also on hand. "Our endangered forests are far more valuable providing critical wildlife habitat, clean water, and hunting and fishing opportunities, than they are cut down for cheap throwaway products such as Victoria’s Secret catalogues."

A bus load of school kids from Sussex were on hand to study freedom of speech in motion. Unfortunately the mall was not the best venue to see these rights fully exercised, as it is private property. City police arrived eventually and politely dispersed the crowd and took down the cardboard signs. But not before a point was made.

Come on Victoria’s Secret, and corporate America, wake up!

In the era of the Internet and fiber alternatives to tree pulp it is ridiculous to liquidate one of the world’s last true great forests for a product that will be in the landfill within weeks. One day soon we’ll have to put a serious check on our resource consumption. Let’s hope we have forests like the Boreal around when that happens.

JOSH MAHAN is editor of Lowbagger.