A Few Sheets of Paper

I have before me a pile of paper. The print is off-white, small and spread across both sides of the 27 sheets of A4 – if I’m going to print out a draft of Part One then I suppose I should make it as “environmentally friendly” as possible, whatever that means in these days of saturation-point greenwash. Strange things happen to my brain when I’m doing the day-to-day things that comprise the lot of the civilization-edge family man: is baking bread from shop-bought flour any more sustainable than buying the bread itself; should I cut my own wood for fire or get a delivery of local hardwood; should I grow my own vegetables or use a local organic box? The thing all the former options have in common is that they involve doing more things myself rather than getting (and usually paying) someone else to do them for me. The question of something being “environmentally friendly” is a moot point – a smokescreen created by the system to differentiate between different versions of the same destructive thing.

It doesn’t really matter how many sides of paper I’m using or how small I’m printing the text out, I’m still using technology that requires a planet-hungry culture to create. I do it, like we all do it, just because it feels better. But in this case I’m also doing it because I’m taking a bus journey tomorrow and want to read the first half I’ve written of the book I really need to hurry up finishing. So far it seems ok, but then my chief critic (Mrs Farnish) hasn’t read it yet!

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