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Sunday, April 13, 2008

An interactive guide to how many trees go into your daily newspaper

If you've ever wondered how many trees will be sacrificed to keep you in newspapers during your lifetime, wonder no more.

National Geographic have come up with a nifty multimedia feature called Human Footprint, which lets you see how much you use of given commodities in a lifetime. You can see a lifetime's worth of milk bottles, the eggs and potatoes you'll eat, the petrol you'll use. Each comes with some useful comparators to help give perspective.













It turns out I'll be responsible for 220-odd trees getting pulped so I can read the paper each day, although I'm not too sure what to do with that piece of information just yet. There's a 'behind-the-scenes' video about what happens to all those newspapers after they go in the bin. At least I think that's what it's about, the video lapsed into a weird staccato when I tried to watch it - that'll be my local broadband infrastructure straining at the seams again. Sigh.

Viewing problems aside, the interactive feature is nicely done and worth a look.

4 comments:

Poneke said...

This is bizarre.

The trees are only grown to be turned into newsprint.

If there were no newspapers, they would not be grown.

The world is on the brink of starvation because of these kinds of wacko attitudes.

Julie Starr said...

Sorry, which is the wacko attitude you were referring to?

Ian Ashcroft said...

try this,

trees are a crop

the newsprint industry owns and maintains forest in order to supply the newspaper industry

as trees are consumed there needs to be re-planting or the newsprint industry has no future.

if the newspaper industry reduces its use of paper there is no economic incentive to re-plant and the number of trees on the planet will reduce

if this is true, the irony is that re-cycling newsprint reduces, not increases, the number of trees on the planet

harvesting trees to produce paper is not the issue. the problem is the energy consumed converting wood to paper.

Ian Ashcroft

Julie Starr said...

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your comment. To be honest, I've not looked into the life cycle of newspapers in any detail and cannot respond to your comment knowledgeably.

I was perhaps a little flippant with my headline and intro, given that I really just wanted to point out the Flash package that National Geographic had made, because I thought it was quite well done.

Not the most impressive I've seen, nor to my taste particularly, but nicely laid out, and good use of comparators and interactivity - something that will encourage readers to spend more time on the website. And that is something of growing importance to news companies - keeping people engaged on their websites.