Saturday, January 17, 2009

This blog is not a tree . . .

On my immediate "reading" list is the following title: Cradle to Cradle.

The book looks and feels like a book - but it is not a traditional book, since, for example, you can freely read it in the rain! It reinvents the idea of books in a different way than the Kindle Wireless Reader or other e-platforms for book-reading.

Pages 5 and 6 of the book offer this:

"This book is not a tree."

"It is printed on a synthetic "paper" and bound into a book format developed by innovative book packager Charles Melcher of Melcher Media. Unlike the paper with which we are familiar, it does not use any wood pulp or cotton fiber but is made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers. This material is not only waterproof, extremely durable, and (in many localities) recyclable by conventional means; it is also a prototype for the book as a "technical nutrient," that is, as a product that can be broken down and circulated infinitely in industrial cycles— made and remade as "paper" or other products."

"The tree, among the finest of nature's creations, plays a crucial and multifaceted role in our interdependent ecosystem. As such, it has been an important model and metaphor for our thinking, as you will discover. But also as such, it is not a fitting resource to use in producing so humble and transient a substance as paper. The use of an alternative material expresses our intention to evolve away from the use of wood fibers for paper as we seek more effective solutions. It represents one step toward a radically different approach to designing and producing the objects we use and enjoy, an emerging movement we see as the next industrial revolution. This revolution is founded on nature's surprisingly effective design principles, on human creativity and prosperity, and on respect, fair play, and goodwill. It has the power to transform both industry and environmentalism as we know them."

More on the subject when I have had time to finish reading!

It seems to be a solid example of changing the way we think about buying (in this case, books) while still being consumers, but in a way that does not take an extended toll on the environment.

More about the book here:

More about the idea of living and consuming in the C2C format here:

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.


  1. Marty, I'd love for you to convince me. But I'm a skeptic. Paper is one of the most easily recycled products, and trees are one of our few truly renewable resources (a point many people seem to forget; there are many environmentally friendly ways of producing a sustainable tree population for pulp supply). If the book reaches a point of truly being discarded, paper breaks down quickly and easily and does not leave any lasting footprint.

    How is an oil based synthetic a more environmentally friendly option? These, as the author admits and promotes, do not break down. They are made from a rapidly depleting resource, and they are environmentally damaging in production.

    I find these choices extremely perplexing. One "green" group says to use paper cups, another comes out and says Styrofoam is actually "greener" than paper, another says plastic is the best, another that we should all use ceramics, another only metal cups, and another corn based synthetics. They are all simultaneously "greener" and "dirtier". Personally I think we should all stick with glass... But what do I know?

  2. Given the fact that it is implausible - barring some "World Without Us"/Apocalyptic/"The Road" reality - it is un-likely we will ever truly "go green" - in the sense of doing away with our oil-based-synthetically-manufactured-chemically-engineered world. While I might want to embrace an "Into The Wild" experience for myself, it seems an improbable reality for most, even me! And, apart from the synthetically-manufactured-chemically-engineered world, we could not be having this conversation, my friend! =)

    I make no claim that I or you should choose paper, styrofoam, plastic or glass, Michael. I do hope, though, that we will think through the options.

    I know you're on the side of eupan, Michael - so stick around and be a contributing voice. I know you want to.

    You're a good influence in my own life, I know that for sure. "The force is strong with this one."

    All God's best to you dear friend.

    ~ marty