I just added the following to our email signature.
“It is OK to print this e-mail. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable and sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of people, and working forests are good for the environment. Working forests provide clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. “
Here is what Kerry Stackpole in Wired 4 Leadership wrote:
A surprising number of people believe that not printing on paper saves trees. While being a responsible user of natural resources is important, the reality is the paper and forest industry grow and harvest trees specifically for paper making. These managed forests better serve the environment through carbon sequestration and cleansing of the water aquifer. Print creates a demand for paper, which in turn creates a demand for trees and managed forests, all the while holding development or other less environmentally friendly uses of land at bay. It may seem counter-intuitive to you, but it’s true.
While some take newspapers, magazines and book manufacturers to task for not quickly adopting new forms of content delivery such as e-readers, the argument that paper is used to create scarcity conveniently overlooks the fact that only 83% of US homes have computers, fewer still broadband access and that e-readers are largely out of financial reach of many families and especially children. Paper, in the form of books, magazines, and newspapers are readily available free in public and school libraries, at reasonable prices on newsstands and if you’re not too fussy on seats in subways, bus stations and coffee shops. Paper as a metaphor for scarcity or the means to slowing idea creation seems wildly outdated. E-devices are here to stay, but that doesn’t mean paper or print must go. If you love breathing fresh air and drinking clean water assuring a demand for print, paper and trees may be the best and most beneficial idea yet. It could likely turn out that print is the renewable way a responsible world communicates.