27 May, 2007

Don’t hug trees – embrace the PAPERLESS OFFICE to demonstrate that you mean eco-business

Marie hugs trees by re-using the reverse side of discarded printer pages.

Australia consumes 1.5 million tons of paper per year. This incurs a relatively higher environmental cost than most countries because of Australia's reliance on fossil fuels in the paper-manufacturing process. However, the greatest waste-paper offender of all is, as usual – you guessed it – the USA.

America’s 300 million people (only a quarter of the size of China) represent only 5% of the world’s population, but gobble up a whopping 25% of the world’s paper. That, from the hypocrite country which refuses to sign agreements on carbon-trading. Sins of Emission.

McTree burgers? Each American consumes 740 lbs of paper per year.

Here in North Thailand, we’re trying our best to minimize unnecessary paper wastage at home, but FunkyPix2 Headquarters still resembles a “paper office”:

Our paper office.

As you can clearly see, we’re rapt in conservation principles, but are still finding it difficult to change long-ingrained patterns of paper wastage. Laziness is a big factor, but re-using printer paper as scrap note-paper is a fine start – the obverses are mostly blank. And why not buy 70gsm paper instead of 80gsm? Nowadays we’re also reading news online more often (stage whisper: ...but I confess I do still enjoy that indefinable ‘something’ about a paper daily with coffee in the morning). History is the sum of individual actions, however small.

Abundance of paper is an illusion maid in Hell. It’s all too tempting to sweep the problem under the office carpet out of sheer laziness. Ah, the flesh is weak…

Vanityfair.com published some interesting maps in its recent Green edition, one of which highlighted countries where plant species were risking extinction. Guilty countries were represented as proportionately enlarged, viz:

Note that almost all of Equatorial America, Saharan Africa, and Malaysia are stand out. It's red-face time for Ecuador. Also culpable are Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, the Phillipines ...and Sri Lanka, surprisingly. Australia comes off quite well by comparison, but it must be remembered that it contains a mere 20 million people (the same as the tiny island of Sri Lanka).

Wood as a cooking fuel could return to use as electricity from fossil fuel begins to run low. Char-grilling will take on new shades of meaning.

Paper hat job? We’re so used to infinite amounts of paper being conveniently available at a moment’s notice. Things might change when we have toilet paper priced by the individual sheet.

An Ancient Geek Temple. Archeologists from FunkyPix2 were excited to discover this Roman-style arch buried under the Parthenon at Athens. This suggests the possibility that the Acropolis was denuded of trees not by goats as previously believed, but by wood-chippers manufacturing paper for Ancient Geek printers. Finally - evidence that printing pre-dates Gutenberg.

Trees are the ecosystem’s quiet unsung heroes. We all sprook on about environment issues, but generally reserve the spotlight for the human race. We tend not to accord trees their rightful status as superstars of the wooded stage. Today, FunkyPix2 spotlights trees' extraordinary talents in a mini-gallery. We give them 15 seconds of fame.....

…and finally, if YOU don’t respect trees by using less paper, we’ll send in FunkyPix2's Ghastly Grisly Geekman to haunt your office and drop gremlins into the photocopier…

I have published many more posts on green issues. Look for "Browse by Category" in the right-hand margin of any FunkyPix2 screen, then click on the "Environment" link.


  1. Thanks for this blog on the paperless office. We're heading in that direction - it's our new years resolution. Loved the graphics! Keep up the good work.


  2. Thanks Beverley. I estimate a well-crafted picture will often do a lot more than a PhD in the struggle for readers' attention. They can get an enormous amount of info over in seconds. Thanks for your input. Peter & Marie.