Grow a tree! Print more paper!
A recent feel-good trend has bothered the cynic in me. A few churches I’ve been to, including Redeemer in NYC have decided to go “green”, by offering the option of paperless mail to its more “progressive” congregants. I just hope this is a cost-saving move cuz its a rather terrible “green” one.
A lot of corporate e-mails including those of my former employer include a line like this:
“Save a tree. Simplify your life. Get your statements online instead of in the mail.” or
“Please consider the environment before printing out this e-mail” or even….
“Every time you use the printer, you mercilessly club a baby seal in front of its mother” I kid….
Of course, this makes me furious. You ask, “But why are you such a soulless human?” Its because….get this…wait for it:
Using more paper = More trees!
Every day we use paper — to communicate, to create, to clean. Paper use has a direct connection with global warming because paper comes from trees, and most paper in the United States today comes directly from wood, rather than recycled sources. Every tree that goes into paper is one less tree capturing carbon and providing habitat for wildlife. (Source: National Wildlife Federation)
Nope. Every time you decide to strain your eyes a bit more to read a document instead of printing it out, you are indirectly causing a tree to not be planted. It’s simple economics really.
- Plant Trees
- Cut trees
- Make paper from trees
- Sell paper
- Anticipate future paper demand from sales
- Plant Trees according to new demand (Step 1)
The key is, when we use paper, the trees we get them from are specifically grown for the purpose of paper. Besides perhaps a bad Steven Seagal flick or Al Gore documentary, no paper company in their right mind would go into a national park to just cut down trees. Those of you who think I am insane, should look at the populations of chickens and cows in the United States. It is precisely because we eat so many chicken parms and juicy steaks that farmers have an incentive to increase the population of these animals. Check out the business model here.
Before you rant at me for being a corporate sell-out (in my boxers and unshaven scrubbiness) I would note its precisely the corporations that are falling for this farce. I would think this idea would be embraced by those who consider themselves more environmentally-inclined. Instead I often get a visceral display of illogical anger; the kind of reaction you’d get from Pat Robertson if you told him there are also Christians in Haiti. Luckily, my environmentalism is of the irreligious variety. “Oh you recycle? Way to NOT plant a future tree”
Next time you see your buddy eschew printing a document or recycle his pitchbook you should
- Chuckle wholeheartedly
- Pat him on the back
- Smugly say, “I’m a little bit more progressive, I print paper to help offset my carbon footprint.”
- Close your eyes and beam your best S#!t-eating grin