Consider this - how many newspapers does any one family need to read?
I'm not very good at the environmental thing... after all, I commute for more than an hour each way to work, so there's not much room for me to criticize, but we do try to do the right things.
For example, we're big freecyclers, and as much as we get many good things, we give away as much stuff as we can that we no longer need, that others might appreciate. We keep things out of the dump this way.
But today I noticed how many newspapers we get, and there are several. It occurred to me how many trees must go just to feed our paper habit. I counted them all today as I was gathering them up for recycling- from Thursday through Sunday, we get 7 papers. We have subscribed to 2 of these - one each on Saturday and Sunday. The rest are "free".
I think we need to ask the question - do we really need all of these papers.
Of the local community papers - there's 3 different ones, all with tons of flyers and advertising. On top of that, all of the papers arrive in their own little baggies. That's an awful lot going to waste. Sure, with our dog furballs in the house, they make great scooping bags, but how many could any one family possibly need?
Do we read all the papers? Sometimes. When we have time. And in addition to all that newsprint with valuable community news, flyers and ads.
This can't be good for the environment. If you do the math - how many people in town actually read these local papers. I'm betting not too many - maybe a half if we're being generous? All the "news" in these papers is notably geared towards church groups and gossips, and those interested in the latest fights at Town Council.
There is a lot of news about church suppers, fundraising drives, local hockey games, and what was discussed at the recent Town Council meeting. Also, if the Town has some important "business" to communicate to its residents, it will publish it in this local rag. I do know though, that many people don't even see these notices. I see them unopened, still rolled up in their bags, in their recycling bin.
I think given the number of trees that are lost, and how this affects our environment, our landfills, the amount of energy put into recycling this paper, that we, as a community - as a society - should look at other ways to get the information out there. I think the Internet is here to stay, and new ways of getting community information out there should be looked at.
For example, community boards are not a new idea, but maybe we should re-examine what an online community board could do. For example, what about the Freecycle model - and use this type of technology to share community information. What about if towns and cities started an email communique of important community notices.
As a society, and as a community, we should look at some new ideas. Let's do something to help our environment while supporting our local businesses. And there's nothing wrong with hugging a few trees along the way.
Contributed by Jamie Naessens