EarthTalk: I heard a reference to “The
Magazine Paper Project.” What are they trying to accomplish?
-- Phil Z., Stamford, CT
project of the nonprofit consumer group Co-Op America, the
Printing Alternatives Promoting Environmental Responsibility
(PAPER) Project educates magazine publishers about the benefits
of recycled papers and helps them make the switch from less
green paper choices. By participating in the project, publications
can both reduce their industry’s impact on the environment
and, by promoting their involvement in the organization,
look good in the eyes of readers.
far the project has helped more than 100 magazines find
sources for recycled paper or increase the environmental
friendliness of the paper stocks they choose. This includes
papers that avoid the use of chlorine-based brighteners,
which are now widely acknowledged to be introducing highly
toxic and cancer-causing dioxins into the environment.
PAPER project was launched in 2001 by Co-Op America in conjunction
with two other nonprofits, the Independent Press Association,
a consortium of primarily small, independent magazine publishers,
and Conservatree, a former paper distributor that turned
to advocacy and consulting in order to help stem the tide
of deforestation by the paper industry.
to the Worldwatch Institute, 42 percent of the global industrial
wood harvest goes to making paper. Nearly half of all trees
harvested in North America go to making some kind of paper
product, and the pulp and paper industry is also the largest
consumer of water used in industrial activities in developed
countries, and the third largest contributor of industrial
greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
12 billion magazines are printed each year, and only five
percent contain recycled paper content. Further exacerbating
the magazine industry’s impact on the environment
is the fact that roughly half of all magazines placed for
sale on newsstands and in bookstores do not get sold and
are either discarded or recycled. (And, of course, even
magazines that do sell are ultimately discarded or recycled.)
2004, the PAPER project conducted a workshop and produced
a guide for publishers as part of an annual magazine industry
conference hosted by Folio: magazine. Several magazines
reportedly switched to recycled paper stock as a result.
The following year, project coordinators worked in conjunction
with Folio: and natural cosmetics company Aveda in pioneering
the first environmental award recognizing magazine publishers
for their environmental commitments. Nine different publications,
including large circulation titles like Natural Health,
Mother Jones, Shape and Mother Earth News have been recognized
by the award since its inception two years ago.
consumers can do their part by asking the publishers of
their favorite titles to consider switching over to recycled
and/or chlorine-free paper stock and taking a look at the
resources offered by the PAPER project to ease the transition
if they haven’t already done so.
PAPER Project; Conservatree;
EarthTalk: How is it that the Bush Administration
is said to have “censored” climate scientists?
-- Anna Edelman, Seattle, WA
Word of the White
House censoring federal climate scientists on global warming
began leaking out to the press early in George W. Bush’s
first term in office, but only in the last few years have
a few federal employees themselves been willing to go on
record with such accusations.
A report released
last January by two leading nonprofits, the Union of Concerned
Scientists (UCS) and the Government Accountability Project
(GAP), found that nearly half of 279 federal climate scientists
who responded to a survey reported being pressured to delete
references to “global warming” or “climate
change” from scientific papers or reports, while many
said they were prevented from talking to the media or had
their work on the topic edited.
evidence shows that political interference in climate science
is no longer a series of isolated incidents but a system-wide
epidemic,” says UCS’s Francesca Grifo. “Tailoring
scientific fact for political purposes has become a problem
across many federal science agencies.”
The issue first
bubbled to the surface when Rick Piltz, who worked for a
decade coordinating federal research on global warming as
part of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program—first
under President Clinton and then Bush—quit in mid-2005
alleging that his superiors were misusing and abusing the
scientific information he was providing.
Piltz told reporters
that Phil Cooney, an official with the President’s
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) who worked for an
oil industry trade group before coming to the White House,
had been editing and altering documents published by the
program. “The changes created a greater sense of scientific
uncertainty about observed climate change and potential
climate change,” said Piltz. Soon after Piltz’s
accusations became known, Cooney left CEQ to work for ExxonMobil,
which has itself been accused of publicly misrepresenting
the science of global warming.
Just when the
brouhaha stirred up by Piltz appeared to be dying down,
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) climate
scientist James Hansen, who has been sounding alarms about
global warming since the 1980s, rekindled the debate by
telling reporters that NASA public affairs staff, under
pressure from the Bush administration, were trying to censor
his lectures, papers and website postings and keep him away
from journalists. In response, NASA Administrator Michael
D. Griffin vowed to support “scientific openness”
on climate and other topics.
is only a first step. Says Piltz: “Even if we succeed
in lifting this heavy hand of censorship, there is still
the problem of getting the political leadership to embrace
the findings put forward by the scientists.”
of Federal Climate Research; U.S.
Climate Change Science Program.