Monday, 1 June 2009

the guilt of loving paper...

I received a letter last week, and even though I felt guilty for doing so, I read the contents and felt a little sad.

I have been formally informed that The Ecologist is to go paperless after July 2009.

Please do not get me wrong - I understand all of the implications of creating a magazine, printing it, distributing it etc etc. I do not know the kg rating of carbon emissions for each edition, but I'm sure they are significant, despite their best intentions to limit it as far as possible.

So you can understand why I felt an incredible rush of guilt after I was upset that my monthly issue would no longer be plopping through my door after next month.

The letter that accompanied my June edition explained the change, and how I could continue to enjoy The Ecologist.

But I'm afraid I won't read it as much as I do now when it goes screenside.

I'm genuinely excited when my monthly magazine changeover arrives. And I do read them all, and all of the way through. Even the little snippet bits and the long and involved bits. I read in bed, in the garden, whilst eating lunch, when away on business, on trains etc etc. The very times that I am trying to get away from my screen, not attaching myself to it a little bit more. And at the end of the month, the interesting bits are kept and filed (yes I really am that anal) and the remainder either gets composted or lines the bottom of the chicken hutch.

Plus there is the satisfaction of reading it exactly when and where you like. Can I look at my laptop in the bath? Not advisable.

So - I have paper guilt. I am guilty as charged of wanting to consume paper - even if it's recycled and printed with vegetable inks. Is this wrong?

My other worry is that there are fellow subscribers that also feel the same. I will continue to subscribe, but I'm sure that many will not. Will The Ecologist feel the pinch of those who are also paper lovers?

Hopefully not, as it is the message that counts, not the form in which it appears, but I will sigh a little when I open up my laptop to read the first e-edition instead of snuggling down in bed. I'd rather have the cat on my lap than have a laptop...


  1. I don't think it's wrong, for all the reasons you've given. Many of us still prefer to read paper rather than screen.

    Will you print the "interesting bits" for filing!?

  2. Strangely enough, I was discussing paper mags versus e-versions this very evening with my publisher son. I wont go into the pros and cons, but remembering when my husband and I ran our own magazine publishing and printing company, all our paper was sourced from sustainable forests (eucalyptus plantations) - think of the implications from a botanical point of view.

    Recycled paper has so many uses, from making paper pots for seedlings (bio-degradable), to decorated paper-mache artefatcs: bowls and trays and so on. One man's waste is another man's raw material. Paper at least is a renewable resource.

  3. Hmmm - that is a very interesting comment TG, as if I find something that makes me go whohoo it ends up in the filing tray. What will I do when I am faced paperless by the Ecologist? Well, i do literally have a 'little black book' so I will end up filling that instead with quotes, web addresses, article references etc, so I will end up consuming paper anyway (albeit on a much smaller scale!)