“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Earth Day invites us to consider how we each individually relate to our Home Planet. How do we kiss the Earth we walk on? Do we recycle, repair, and reuse our possessions? All relationships involve a give and a take. How do we give back? There are many articles circulating today on how we can clean up our act. “How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” is full of great and easy ways to “kiss” the Earth. (See link below)
Speaking of recycling, allow me to take a minute to focus on the “Go Paperless” campaign. I still pay most of my bills through the mail. Of course, I support the Postal Service, and I also feel most comfortable with paper: the statement, the envelope, and a personal check. The utilities companies urge their customers to save a tree- go paperless and pay online. As altruistic as that sounds, basically, the corporate motivation is actually to eliminate another job.
And that brings up the debate: Paper versus Electronics. So well stated are the facts in the following paragraphs, that I am eager to share them with you in full. (Courtesy of Saturn Press, 2013)
“Paper is the most recycled product on the planet. Nine times more paper is recycled than plastic, three times more than glass, and twice as much as metal. Don’t opt for that telephone call or e-mail delivery of your information so quickly without these thoughts:
- The electronic device you use is made from plastics, precious metals, and rare earth minerals. Together, as a cell phone or computer, they are not recyclable; separately they cannot be regenerated. Paper, readily recycled, is biodegradable and poses no problems as toxic or hazardous waste. The materials needed to make a new electronic device are gained through further depletion of scarce resources. The fibers needed to make paper can be reproduced by carbon absorbing oxygen generating plants. (trees)
- The exchange of electronic messages do not occur in the clouds, nor are they done without an effect on the environment. These exchanges take place in vast data centers; warehouses of server computers. Their cooling often requires as much power as their computing and the largest consume as much electricity as aluminum smelters.
- Electronic devices quickly become obsolete, adding to landfill stress, and their memories are not archival. Electronic memory mediums begin to degrade within weeks of creation, and the devices that read these media rarely last more than a few decades. Reel to reel magnetic tape? 8 track tape? Cassette tape? Floppy disc? Compact Disc? We’ll instead put our money on the Magna Carta. Ink put on paper in the year 1215.”
Interesting facts to consider this Earth Day. Perhaps another way to “kiss the Earth” would be to put down the electronic device and put ink on paper instead!