Think of the Loggers!

File this away for the “butterfly causing a hurricane” sect. I mean, when you close the newspapers, who’s thinking about the paper-and-logger industry?

The American Forest & Paper Assn. estimates that newsprint production in 2009 will fall by one-third, or almost 1.5 million tons, from the previous year, and magazine print by 1 million tons, or 25%. August was the 18th consecutive month of double-digit declines in U.S. newsprint consumption, according to research firm CreditSights. The paper-products industry now employs 37% fewer people than in 1990, while the forest-products industry as a whole has 34% fewer workers.

Moment of silence here for an industry that, when you account for a slumping new construction market and other circumstances, has been one of the heaviest losers during this recession.

Then again, ask those same people, and not only is the decline of print a helping hand in the destruction of their industry, the perceived “green” benefits of digitalizing news over tree-killing aren’t as big as once thought. First, newspapers are generally printed on recycled paper (the American Forest & Paper Association estimates it at around 57 percent of all print pubs came from recycled materials in 2008; via Business Week article, but the release is available on its site, PaperRecycles.org).

(Additional parenthesis: the euphemism for this is “Paper Recovery.” Message testing, noted).

So – next time you choose to not buy that newspaper: think of the logger and how we are already recovering paper to keep the environment going. Then hop online, ironically read the article from Business Week even if it’s delivered to your apartment, write a sarcastic blog post that questions the intentions of microsites like PaperRecycles.org, and then continue to read the Sunday paper online.

Plus, I had to look up what comprises the Institute for Sustainable Communication because my mind isn’t working quickly enough this morning to get through whatever that is supposed to mean. Final moment of irony: I couldn’t do that in a newspaper and I don’t think a logger could help me explain it, either.

(cc) Image via flickr user State Records NSW

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