Friday, July 8, 2011

The End of Blueprints (to share a long, eloquently written, comment with you)

On July 6th, I put up an article on Reprographics 101 about an article titled "The End of Blueprints”. Here’s a link to the post I did on July 6th.

Today, via e-mail, I received a long comment on that article, and, since what the “commentor” (Vern Kellie) had to say was so eloquently put, I wanted to share (and I have his consent to share) Vern’s full comment with you, so here it is……

“Hello Joel,

Was just catching up on your blog this morning and would like to offer a few comments on the article “end of blueprints”… Houston Neal serves up some rather capricious and deleterious remarks regarding the paper industry in general, and the reprographic industry in particular; suggesting that an “end to blueprints” would save 42,000 trees (and thus, help save the planet)…what Mr. Neal conveniently neglected to mention were a few facts about the paper-making industry (which hold true for “blueprinting” paper as well):

Most of the trees “harvested” for the production of pulp (paper) are from Tree “Farms”. Trees are cut for pulp, new trees are planted (like crops for food)…re-forestation and sustainable initiatives abound within the paper industry…non-profit groups like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) a world-wide consortium, and North American groups SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) and AFF (American Forest Foundation) offer a collaborative forum for supply-side paper mills, industry, environmental and governmental representatives, etc. to all engage in proper dialogue with the single mission to ensure proper replenishment and sustainability of the world’s forests. And re-forestation needs to happen.

Forests are a natural carbon “sink”…that is, through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is taken from the air, oxygen is returned, lovely trees accomplish this for us…For a tree to make a lb. of wood, 1.5 lbs. of carbon dioxide is taken from the air, and 1 lb. of oxygen is returned…what does this have to do with re-forestation? Young, growing trees “photosynthesize” at a faster rate than do older trees, thereby taking more CO2 from the air and giving back more oxygen… a positive environmental impact!

In short, paper is an environmentally sound, renewable and recyclable resource…cutting down 42,000 older trees to make paper makes way for 42,000 younger ones to be planted.

And another point to consider: while the author was busy with his calculator determining trees per blueprint rolls, and waving his “environmental finger”, possibly some introspection is in order.

It takes power to run computers! While Mr. Neals calculator was out, possibly he should have calculated the annual power consumption of a “server farm” to keep that “cloud” from bursting. Where do you think those kwh’s come from? Don’t think there’s an environmental impact? Think again…Point being, whether we are tilling the earth’s soil for crops, fishing the oceans, making a roll of paper or turning on a computer – we are, to some degree, extracting the earth’s resources…It’s how efficiently we use, manage and replenish those resources that makes the difference and determines the world we choose to live in.

The “end of blueprints?”, I’m sure repographers ponder that question more than the author realizes…in my view, however, his article is just “barking up the wrong tree”.

(Please feel free to post or comment on as you see fit, always enjoy your commentary…keep up the good work!)

Vern Kellie


205 West Wacker Drive, #322

Chicago, IL 60606


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