Deforestation Comes to the Hundred Acre Wood

Who Gives a Crap accused of 'manipulating kids' with Winnie the Pooh PR campaign
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2023 8:16 AM CDT
Deforestation Comes to the Hundred Acre Wood
The new Hundred Acre Wood, as shown in "Winnie-the-Pooh: The Deforested Edition."   (Who Gives a Crap)

Winnie the Pooh's world is transformed. The Hundred Acre Wood is no more. All the trees are stumps. Winnie-the-Pooh: The Deforested Edition—a new book, already sold out in hard copy, with proceeds supporting increased access to clean water and sanitation—is the latest reuse of the character who entered the public domain last year. It comes from Who Gives A Crap, a company that produces 100% recycled paper or bamboo toilet paper. A study commissioned by the company found 1 million trees are cut down daily to make traditional toilet paper. Who Gives a Crap sought to raise awareness about the dangers of deforestation as it relates to habitat loss and climate change, but "it's a hard message to get across and it's really hard to imagine," co-founder Danny Alexander tells NPR.

Enter Winnie the Pooh and his friends, who would surely be affected by a world without trees. In Winnie-the-Pooh: The Deforested Edition, AA Milne's original story is unchanged, but "the illustrations are reimagined to represent the consequences of traditional toilet paper production on the thinning of forests," according to a release. "Where once lush trees stood, home to the many furry friends, are barren, felled tree stumps." It's "an extremely powerful re-use of the original Winnie-the-Pooh book to convey that even a bear 'of very little brain' could appreciate the impacts of deforestation," Jennifer Jenkins, director of Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain, tells NPR.

Tensie Whelan, founding director of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, argues the company is instead "sort of manipulating kids into an emotional response" and using a beloved story "to sell their product," per NPR. She notes "100% recycled paper still comes from trees" and is produced through the burning of fossil fuels. But Who Gives a Crap co-founder Simon Griffith says the book is about starting a conversation. In a poll of 1,000 parents of kids between ages 6 and 11, more than 50% said their children were raising concerns about environmental issues, yet more than 50% said they couldn't confidently define deforestation, per the Sun. "It's clear that parents want to know more about the issue to ensure they can help educate our children," Griffith says. A free e-copy of the book is available here. (More Winnie the Pooh stories.)

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