Friday, March 21, 2008

Can't See The Forest For The Reams


Reams and reams of paper get wasted every week. Paper is made from trees. Sometimes I wonder just how many trees get chopped down and shredded just to keep a small city like North Miami supplied with paper. Every meeting that I attend is preceded by a printed notice in the mail, even though I still get a phone call, and most of those notices include an agenda that fills still more pages. Then there are a bunch of additional agendas and other hand-outs up here in the front of the council chambers for those who might not be on the mailing list or just forgot to bring theirs with them. If a land use or building variance is being considered there are also huge sheets of paper depicting maps and building plans. Lastly, since the advent of digital imaging, there are usually print-outs of lots of pretty color photographs.

At the end of Board of Adjustment meetings there is some attempt to re-assemble the packets so they can be re-used at the upcoming council meeting, but I suspect that it's mostly a "feel good" gesture and the stuff ends up in the trash anyway. It'd really be a major hassle to put all the sheets back in order, figure out exactly what's missing, print up new copies of just those sheets, and so on...cheaper to just chop down another tree.

All of that paper is only printed on one side. I look at my packet as a great source of free scratch paper. I have a bunch of sheets of paper clipped together on the seat of my truck, another is next to the phone in the house. It helps me to make ends meet when the city council is still too damned cheap to give board members a single raise in forty-seven years. (They just gave themselves a big one, though!)

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