I make no apologies for advocating paper

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

paper products in the officeUsing paper is an anathema for many in the green environmental movement but there is nothing wrong with paper, nothing whatsoever. Not even with paper made from wood pulp.

There is nothing wrong with paper for books or with using it for communications whether as letter or memo. In the same way as there is nothing wrong with wood in the form of products whatsoever. Better than using plastic by a long shot. Wooden kitchen utensils are way more hygienic than are plastic ones as the woods used for making them contain high amounts of antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties.

When it comes to paper we are all being lied to left, right and center by people who either do not know what they are talking about and thus know no better or who have some other vested interest. Paper is not made from (tropical) rainforest trees. They are hardwood and the hardness of the wood simply makes them unsuitable for paper pulp, period!

Most paper is produced from spruce and other conifers specifically grown for this purpose and which are replanted after each felling and thus the entire operation is sustainable. And that ad infinitum. Most of those forests are owned by the paper industry and would not exist were it not for us using paper.

In fact, reducing the use of paper or doing without it all together would mean that the industry would no longer have any use for those forests and they would, in the end, be clear cut and turned over to some other use. And the size of those forests going in the hundreds of thousands of hectares if not more and they would be lost as forests without paper being produced and used. In addition to that millions of jobs would also be put in jeopardy if the industry would cease to exist or even would have to scale down significantly.

Then, when using paper as opposed to computer and the cloud there is the added security factor that, as long as the document is in your possession, in your filing cabinet or safe, or whatever, it is secure. The same cannot be said when held on a computer and especially not when held “in the cloud”.

It is for that reason that the Russian intelligence community is returning to the use of typewriters and paper for sensitive documents and a paper-based circulation list.

It is true that paper can be made from pulp other than wood pulp, such as from hemp – it used to be made from this plant until the early part of the 20th century, as well as from rags, as long as those are from natural fibers. In fact the Chinese, who invented paper, did make that paper from just that stuff, that is to say from rags. And that was all the while the Europeans still used vellum made from animal skins.

However, today most paper is being made from wood-pulp, predominately from coniferous trees such as spruce and fir with the occasional deciduous ones in the form of poplar and birch. Most other deciduous and even coniferous woods are too hard for the creation of pulp for the making of paper.

It is true, however, that acre for acre hemp is much more productive for fiber for the making of paper as is wood but, alas, the growing of hemp (Canabis sativa) is outlawed in most places, or strictly controlled because of the hallucinogenic properties of hemp due to its contents of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In times past, however, it was compulsory – yes, compulsory – for farmers to give over part of the farm to the growing of hemp for making of sails and other canvas products as well as and especially for the making of paper.

The New York Times in 2012 had a great article entitled “In Defense of the Power of Paper” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/jobs/pen-and-paper-still-practical-in-the-office-workstation.htmwhere even Joel Makover of the Green Business Group says that while he uses paper not that much he still prints out reports for proofreading as he finds it easier to read things on paper than on the screen and this, in fact, goes for many people.

© 2014