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Greenpeace blames Barbie for Indonesian deforestation

Poor Barbie. The iconic doll has been demonized over the years for her unrealistic figure, her effect on girls' body image - even her permanently arched feet.

Now, Greenpeace is accusing the curvy blond doll of having a "nasty deforestation habit," because her manufacturer, Mattel, uses paper packaging from "Indonesia's most notorious rain forest destroyer," Asia Pulp and Paper. According to Greenpeace, APP's practices are threatening the habitat of, among others, the endangered Sumatran tiger.

Greenpeace has targeted other companies, including Lego, Disney and Hasbro, but for now, only Barbie has been elevated to poster-toy infamy for her packaging.

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The protest group unfurled banners down the sides of Mattel buildings, depicting a frowning Ken doll and the caption, 'Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestation.'" (Were Barbie and Ken still a couple? I digress.)

They clogged Barbie's Facebook page and posted this animated video of Ken dumping Barbie online.

Mattel has responded, saying the company "is developing a sustainable procurement policy for all of Mattel's product lines which will address the important issue of deforestation."

While we're on the topic of the evils of packaging, though, may I propose we widen the scope to include other transgressions?

Parents love to hate the reams of packaging that come with even the simplest of toys these days. The static-y Styrofoam peanuts. Those industrial strength twisties that adhere toys to their cardboard boxes so they won't, you know, jostle?

Or the worst offender: the indestructible plastic shells that set off expletive-laden rants from parents who have to rip, tear, and stab their way through them while their child waits and waits. Blood is often involved.

As one parent put it in an online forum,"Do you think whoever designs it secretly hates parents? Why does it take a chainsaw to get a little toy car out of a package?"

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What are your pet peeves about toy packaging? Would you like to see less of it in general?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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