Cutting back on paper may seem “so 1990s” given the current focus of environmental organizations on climate change and related global issues. But reducing paper use is still one of the best ways companies, government agencies and institutions can help the environment during the course of day-to-day activities.
Getting a handle on just how much paper your entity could save is the first step. The non-profit Environmental Paper Network (EPN)—an umbrella group launched in 2002 and made up of more than 100 organizations working to reduce paper production and consumption and clean up the inefficient yet still expanding paper industry—makes it easy with its Paper Calculator. The free online tool compares the environmental impacts of competing paper products and assesses the larger impacts of paper use.
According to EPN, some of the tangible results of its work include legal protection for millions of acres of endangered forests, significant increases in the number of paper-related certifications and forest acres certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a marked increase in the number of large companies developing environmental paper policies, vastly increased availability of genuine environmental papers for consumers, and increased demand for, and use of, recycled fibers.
EPN also makes available easy-to-read reports outlining the benefits of making more sustainable paper choices. Showing companies the economic advantages of reducing their paper usage and greening other aspects of operations has been key to building EPN's membership and expanding its influence overall.
While joining EPN may be more of a commitment than some entities are willing to make, there are plenty of other free resources to help reduce paper use and green business operations. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) offers up a plethora of tips on responsible paper consumption via its Greening Advisor program. A few examples include more double-sided printing and the use of smaller type fonts, eliminating paper coffee cups, and e-billing (invoicing clients via e-mail instead of paper).
NRDC also emphasizes that saving paper helps the bottom line: “A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year…Identifying ways to reduce paper use can save money.”
Yet another great resource is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WasteWise program, which offers free information and assistance for corporate environmental sustainability efforts. Hundreds of companies have already partnered with EPA on the program. One of the biggest WasteWise partners, Bank of America, has saved upwards of $1 million annually since syncing up with the program.
CONTACTS: Environmental Paper Network, www.environmentalpaper.org; Forest Stewardship Council,www.fsc.org; NRDC Greening Advisor, www.nrdc.org/enterprise/greeningadvisor/; EPA WasteWise,www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/smm/wastewise/index.htm.
EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss & Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc.
By Cary Brunswick
Young and old alike were shocked a half-century ago to hear a folkie protest song on Top 40 radio stations, especially one as explosive as ``Eve of Destruction.’’
And 50 years ago this month, on Sept. 25, 1965, the recording by Barry McGuire made it to No. 1, pushing ``Help’’ by The Beatles out of the top spot.
Thanks to the efforts of singers and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Phil Ochs, topical songs with a message were becoming commonplace. The ’60s folk revival had popularized songs such as ``Where Have All the Flowers Gone,’’ ``Blowin’ in the Wind,’’ ``We Shall Not be Moved’’ and ``I Ain’t Marching Anymore’’ that dealt with the issues of freedom, civil rights and war.
While many of those songs became anthems of protest movements, they did not share the anger and coarseness exuded by McGuire while hurriedly recording ``Eve of Destruction’’ in a single take.
The eastern world it tis explodin',
Violence flarin', bullets loadin',
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin',
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin',
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin'.
A lot has changed in the so-called ``eastern world,’’ which presumably included the Middle East and perhaps Asia in general. In fact, the deaths, violence and mayhem are much worse today.
In 1965, the government was drafting young men as the war in Vietnam escalated with more than 100,000 troops deployed. Young men could be drafted at 18, but couldn’t vote until they were 21. The song had an impact on the movement to lower the voting age, which passed in 1971.
Some young people opposed war and espoused peace, but when the government called them to duty to fight in Vietnam, the vast majority went.
Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?
And can't you feel the fear that I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there's no running away,
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy.
The song was written in 1964 by 19-year-old P.F. Sloan, who was working as a songwriter for a record label. Though by 1965 ``Ban the Bomb’’ had been replaced by ``Stop the War’’ on protest signs, the fear associated with the Cold War was still lurking in the back of many minds.
Sloan wrote on his website that ``the media claimed that the song would frighten little children. I had hoped thru this song to open a dialogue with Congress and the people. The media banned me from all national television shows. Oddly enough they didn't ban Barry.’’
Today, numerous countries have the bomb as the U.S. and other nations try to keep Iran from joining that list.
Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin',
I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin',
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don't pass legislation,
And marches alone can't bring integration.
Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Sloan was angry because the song was written as southern senators filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for nearly two months before it was finally passed and signed by President Johnson. The mass arrests during the bloody march led by the Rev. Martin Luther King from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery occurred several months after the song was written.
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace.
The ``hate your neighbor’’ line, sung so gruffly by McGuire, was a knock on middle class hypocrisy and echoed the Phil Ochs song, ``Love Me, I’m a Liberal,’’ which stated, ``I love Puerto Ricans and Negroes, as long as they don't move next door.’’
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
The chorus lines at the end of each ``Eve of Destruction’’ verse appear to be addressed to the American people, who are being chided for not facing the dire consequences of the ``this whole crazy world.’’
Sloan, however, accused of extreme pessimism, tells it differently. He says the ``you’’ and ``my friend’’ he’s addressing refer to God, who’s ``telling me, 'Don't believe we're on the eve, I'm not going to allow it’.’’
I guess each generation believes the world can’t get any worse, but in some ways it usually does. But in other ways, it does get better.