Thursday, March 15, 2012

Killing Trees

“I see men as trees walking.” ~Mark 8:24

Over the years I've spent a lot of time thinking about and contemplating trees. Like humans, trees grow, reproduce, work, rest and die of old age. Like humans there is much under the ground that you can't see as above the ground. Like humans they convert one form of gas into another. That is, the breathe in CO2 and exhale Oxygen, whereas we do the reverse.

Here’s an interesting factoid about trees. Many trees can actually grow in the dark, in caves, but these trees do not have the ability to reach maturity, bear fruit and reproduce.

So I find it interesting when I print a large document on our copy machine at the office, someone there says, "Oh Ed, your killing trees again." It's almost as if the word "printing" is becoming a euphemism for "killing."

My take on this is probably old-fashioned. But as with everything else I suspect my ideas may need re-thinking. I usually contemplate the nuanced life lessons trees offer as a metaphor instead of the ethics of chopping them down.

This week I was reading Amazon.com book reviews and came across this one, which prodded me to write today's blog entry. I don't know which book he was reviewing, and forgot to even cite who said it. “I am looking forward to reading this book .... as soon as the Kindle price is LESS than the tree-killing, dump-filling hardcover version. No one has been able to explain this "enviro tax" to me where I am required to pay MORE for the (apparent) PRIVILEGE of being environmentally conscious.” (all typos adjusted)

So it is that the printing business is being re-labeled. No longer printing, it's tree killing.

ENDGAME
In the old days, authors would do anything and everything to get published in print. Hardcover or softcover books, the more paper used the better. Bookstores were filled with books and I don’t ever recall anyone commenting on the trees that were hacked down to produce them. The only criticism was if the author was producing hack writing, aimed not at quality but just to garner a buck.

It had always been my mindset that foresting was like a giant garden and the loggers who worked them were also like good gardeners who managed their crops to insure their future livelihoods were assured. So it surprises me that printing is starting to be labeled “killing trees.”

All this to say, however, if you’re of the mindset that we need to reduce our dependence on printed material, all my books are digital only and no trees were ever mistreated to produce them. You can find my novel, The Red Scorpion, and my three volumes of short stories on Kindle, Nook and now Apple’s iStore. We only printed 50 copies of the novel for our book launch party and for a few copies for family and friends.

Now if it turns out that scientists learn that trees actually scream when we chop them down, I will be the first to change my tune on this matter. In fact, speaking of tunes, I'm fairly certain there has been research that shows how plants cringe when certain kinds of music is player and flourish when other music is piped into their spaces. There may have even been papers published on this, specifically citing what kind of music the plants liked. My guess, however, is that such research is incomplete until they also analyze what kind of music the children of those plants like.

In the meantime, if you'd like to read an unusual story in which a tree plays a pivotal role, check out my "Unremembered History of the World," which you'll find in my first volume of ePublished stories titled Unremembered Histories.

Even this blog entry is digital and was produced without hurting a tree. Have a really great day. And if you're in the Twin Ports, look to The Reader and today's Wave for this weekend's arts happenings. It's happening all around you.

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