Potential solutions are complicated


This is a problem that has no end in sight. And it doesn’t just effect my little creek here in central Alabama. This is happening all over the country and the world for that matter. And I’m partly to blame. We all are. Our consumption of paper products fuels the market and creates the demand. I remember complaining about how ugly a clear cut was to my uncle once and he said to me, “Next time you use the bathroom, try using a leaf. If you’re good with that then you can complain about the clear cut.”

Grotesque as that statement may be, it’s very sobering and illustrative. I believe we do overuse and abuse the resource, but even at the most basic levels if we did practice more conservation, we are very dependent on paper products in this society. Not to mention lumber as well. So I don’t want to just gripe and moan and offer no solution for the problem. Here are a few.

The obvious one is the one we just won’t do and probably never will. Stop using as much paper. Obviously if the demand drops, the supply will have to slow down. I think we are at least more cognizant now than ever before of paper consumption, so we have made some progress in that arena. But still, while I’m sitting here writing this I have a stack of junk mail consisting of unsolicited credit card offers, bank statements and bills that I never open because I use the apps on my phone. Completely idiotic wastes of paper that I can’t stop even though I’ve slowed down what I can with paperless billing.

The other problem with the “just stop using paper” solution is that we are all part of an ever increasing population. Even if we all cut our paper consumption in half, the population will double in time and we’ll be right back where we started. So yes, we have to do more individually to consume less. But that’s not going to do anything to address the specific issue of this piece. So back to the silt that’s already in the water.