Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

Last Christmas one of my daughters gave me Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating.  Clearly more concerned about my growing waistline than my malnourished intellect, my daughter’s inspired gift got me to thinking about calories and food production from an entirely different perspective:  the environment.  In Mr. Bittman’s eye-opening introduction he asserts that, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultual Organization (FAO), “global livestock production is responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse gases – more than transportation.”

Mark Bittman, the noted food critic for the New York Times, and straight-man to hilarious chef Mario Batali in Spain… On The Road Again, makes an utterly convincing case for reducing our meat consumption and  ”save ourselves and our planet (and some money) by doing so.”  While I have not yet swapped cow for tofu, my daughters will be delighted that I have decided to moderate my diet and eat more responsibly.  In addition to practical reasons for modifying our eating habits, Food Matters has 75 great recipes to help facilitate that change.

You may be asking, what does stationery have to do with global livestock production?   A cynical answer might be that if everyone were to skip the double cheeseburger and instead send out a hand-written note the world be a better place.  Surely, a nice piece of social correspondence doesn’t  use  any more paper than the wrapping paper and bag that accompanies your 700 calorie burger.

While it is fashionable to be “green” I am always a bit skeptical of “green” claims when it comes to paper.   Scot Case of TerraChoice discusses the seven sins of greenwash which are routinely violated in most ”green” stationery promotions.   I am not sure if these questionable claims are deliberate, but stretching the truth seems to be a common and growing trend within the stationery industry.  It is indeed unfortunate as there are so many passionate and talented designers and craftspeople like Julie Holcomb, Oblation Papers and Elum Designs where “green” is a way of life rather than misleading promotional hype.

Mr. Bittman’s book on eating habits and global livestock production brings home a sad truth:  We seem to spend far too much time focusing micro-issues while  the “big green picture” gradually slips out of control.  Certainly, global livestock production and packaging, which represents more than 40% of all paper production, are far more serious environmental concerns than the simple yet elegant act of sending a personal note.

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