We’re all lumberjacks, that’s not OK

Full employment for lumberjacks has its drawbacks. The ‘paperless office’ the computer revolution was supposed to bring about didn’t happen, we are using more paper, therefore felling more trees, than we ever have.

In the past 30 years world paper consumption has increased by half. Despite buzz words like ‘paperless’ and ‘green’ each American uses almost 6 forty foot trees per year in a race to strip the world of our most glorious flora.

The U.S. is 7th in world paper usage, with Belgium, Finland, Austria, Germany, Japan and Sweden using more. It seems bizarre, Amazon recently announced that e-books have out sold printed matter for the first time, yet we are still lumberjacking like lunatics.

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Posted by on April 4, 2012. Filed under Environment,NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to We’re all lumberjacks, that’s not OK

  1. Bill Formby Reply

    April 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Tell this to all the idiots who are still filling up my real mail box with real junk mail.

  2. Stewart Dick Reply

    April 5, 2012 at 9:02 am

    This is a great graphic that creates an interesting and I guess, to many people, a distressing picture. Unfortunately it does not show the whole picture.

    I am not going to argue with the figures presented for paper usage although what is not clear though is what quantity of actual paper each 40 foot tree actually equates to. Without being able to equate it to an actual quantity of a4 paper this 40 foot tree figure is extremely abstract to all but industry experts. Those are however the figures presented so they cannot really be disputed or objected to I do however object to and dispute the accuracy of your comment “in a race to strip the world of our most glorious flora.”

    The vast majority of paper produced and sold worldwide today has been produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The trees felled for pulp and paper making are from sustainable forestation and are a renewable resource.

    There are a few key facts which must be considered in relation to these extremely abstract figures.

    According to the U.S. forest service
    “In the United States, we grow more trees than we harvest. The amount of U.S. forestland has remained essentially the same for the last 100 years at about 750 million acres, even though the U.S. population tripled during the same period.”

    They also state
    “While total forestland area in the U.S. has been relatively stable over the last century, a net loss of 20 million acres (2.7%) is projected between 2000 and 2050. Most of that loss will be caused by development”

    In general, the paper industy replants 3 trees for every tree that is cut down. This is great for the environment! Trees absorb and store co2, young trees do this more efficiently so a well managed forest that is used and replanted is better for the environment than a mature forest. The environmental benefits aside, it would quite simply not be in the interests of the paper industry to strip ALL the trees from the world as there would be no more raw material to make paper!

    “In northern Europe, where almost all ancient forests are protected, paper comes from managed semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled. Even in countries where natural forests are used, like Russia and Canada, logging accounts for only a tiny share of the annual tree growth.” Timber for paper is effectivelly a farmed resource! It is grown for the purpose of making paper and while it may may take longer to reach maturity and create a more dramatic sight when it is harvested it is fundamentally no different from any other farmed crop such as corn, wheat or sugar cane none of which receive any criticism when they are harvested.

    According to UNECE, FAO, The Development of Forest Resources, 1950 to 2000

    Many people also mistakenly believe that papermaking destroys the rainforest. Rainforests are made up of mostly hardwoods like mahogany, these cannot be used for for paper making. Papermaking requires soft woods like pine and eucalyptus.

    According to replantingtherainforests.org, April 2009
    “The single biggest direct cause of tropical deforestation is conversion to crop land and pasture, mainly for subsistence”

    The manufacture of paper and its subsequent uses provide a huge number of jobs accross a host of industries; packaging, commercial printing, marketing, greeting card and gift wrap manufacturing to name but a few!

    Offices are yet to go Paperless as paper is still an important tool in the modern office and is integral to many businesses operations. Invoices received and sent, quotations to name just a couple of the items that most businesses need to have printed, whilst invoices may be sent by email, there are few businesses that do not then print and file a hard, paper copy.

    For marketing purposes, it is just as important as ever. For many small companies it is quite simply the only form of marketing they can afford to do and by using the Royal Mail, paper marketing is and extremely powerfull and well targeted form of affordable marketing.

    According to FAO Statistics 2007
    “The paper industry is a relatively small user of wood.
    Of the wood extracted from the world’s forests, 53% is used for energy production, 28% is used by sawmills and only around 11% is used directly by the paper industry”

    The paper industry has long been demonised and used as an easy target when in fact it acts in an extremely environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. So the next time you are thinking about preserving the worlds forests consider the fact that far more wood goes into producing heat & light and producing lumber for building, making furniture and a myriad other uses with papermaking lagging far behind in terms of total consumption!

    Paper is NOT the enemy, it is environmentally friendly, it is vital for business and its manufacture and uses provide a living for a huge number of people around the world.


    • Michael John Scott Reply

      April 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks for your observations and comments. You make some interesting points.

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