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Life Without Pulp and Paper
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We came home from dinner this past Friday evening to find the electricity off-line in our local neighborhood. There was no storm or anything that goes along with a storm to worry about. I lit a fire in the fireplace, just for the fun of it (it was not very cold outside). Settling in, within a couple of minutes I experienced a strange sensation -— a sense of liberation. No compelling reason to go to the office to check email, no compelling reason to see what was on television. I found myself, at least for the moment, coveting the lifestyle of the Amish. They just may be on to something.

After a while, I was thinking about a biography I had read as a child about Thomas Edison. In this book it was reported that on the 50th anniversary of the light bulb’s invention, there was a proposal to turn off all the lights in honor of Mr. Edison, who was still living. This proposal was quickly dismissed as being impossible to do, for Mr. Edison’s invention had become so important that it would be a danger to society (traffic lights, lights at airports, etc.) to turn off all the lights.

This, in a long winded way, now brings me back on topic. I have been thinking for a long time that as an industry, we need a long-term, international campaign to raise awareness of our importance to modern society, both through our pulp products and our paper products. My idea is to raise awareness by annually having a pulp and paper-free day -— a day when we use no pulp or paper products. After only a brief time, however, I came to the conclusion that, like turning off all the light bulbs, this would be an impossibility, for the products directly made of paper or including pulp or paper are too ubiquitous and too important to do without for a day. Bear with me for a moment while I list a few:

* Every product having to do with sanitary hygiene
* Paper
* Newspaper
* Ice cream
* Tires
* Magazines
* Toothpaste
* Books
* Electrical transformers
* Packaging
* Shipping
* Countertops
* Furniture
* Photographs
* Art
* Buildings
* Surgery
* Immigration and Emigration
* Births
* Deaths
...and on and on

A day without pulp and paper would take us back to the stone age, except we couldn’t start a fire, because modern humankind would want to wad up a piece of newspaper to kindle it!


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