by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Environmentalists with little knowledge or lots of the wrong “knowledge”, and there are far too many of them around, it seems to me, keep regurgitating the erroneous mantra of paper equaling dead trees and the destruction of forests and especially the rainforests of the Amazon, and such.
That is a complete and utter fallacy, and outright falsehood in the main as, first of all, hardwoods, deciduous or not, are, bar one or two exceptions, and they are actually rather soft deciduous trees, are not suitable at all for the making of paper pulp. Most paper comes from specifically planted and grown softwoods, predominately here pine and spruce, and also some “hardwoods” such as birch and poplar. Also, were it not for the paper industry those trees would not be and many forests would not be in existence as they are owned and managed by the paper industry.
When it comes to sustainability pen and paper are better by far than electronic devices, in the long run as well as in the short, for the environment, as a paper notebook does not require power and thus has no batteries, and the same is true for the pen, whether ballpoint or fountain pen or the most humble of writing instruments, the pencil. Better still to a bought notebook is the one that you have made yourself from scrap paper. You have saved even more resources then.
My notebooks can, basically, be run over by a MBT (that's main battle tank, for the uninitiated) and the data will still be retrievable and usable. The book itself may be even. And, as said, neither pen or paper do need any batteries to work.
In addition to that most of my notebooks are handmade, by myself, from “waste” paper, such as from pages that have been printed on one side only, often from press releases received on the various shows that I attend, from junk mail and such like, and thus are good for the environment too.
They are fairly easy to make, cost virtually nothing, can be archived for future reference (OK, they are not searchable) in shoe boxes or such containers afterwards and, and that is also good, make nice conversation pieces too when talking sustainability.
As far as I am concerned there is nothing that beats being able to make noted and such anywhere without having to worry as to whether the batteries are going to hold out or whether the environment where I am at that time is safe for an electronic device.
I can drop my notebook or pen as often as should happen without having to fear that they won't work anymore. They will.
Pen and paper requires no power source, no software, etc., can be used in most light conditions and environments and can be dropped from a great height and that without getting damaged necessarily.
In the long run, in my view, pen and paper are higher on the sustainability scale than any digital device – period – and if I am not mistaken they are also making somewhat of a comeback. Not that they have ever really gone away.