For many businesses, the paperless office that was once predicted never transpired. Today, it is estimated that 95 percent of businesses still store their information on paper. And with paper manufacturing being one of the largest users of fossil fuels and natural resources in the world, this could equate to ecological disaster.
The International Institute for Environment and Development estimates that worldwide usage of paper, per person, is more than 48 kilograms per year. Plus, paper production is increasing, with the Confederation of European Paper Industries stating that during 2010 the average quarterly production of pulp had risen by 9 percent.
However, not all businesses are adding to this ecological burden.
Gregory Stark, founder and director trainer of Better Being, a personal training venue located in New South Wales, is utilising ways in his business to reduce the use of paper.
“We use an online customer relationship management system and our trainers have an iPad,” said Stark. This means that our trainers are able to have pre-exercise questionnaires and personal health plans at their finger tips. In addition, this saves the use of 4 pieces of paper, per client,” he said.
Stark says that this system is more effective and limits paperwork, plus it encourages trainers and possibly clients to be more careful of paper usage.
“We conduct our services predominately in the great outdoors,” said Stark. “We encourage our trainers to think before they print. They have alternative resources. This, hopefully, encourages clients to do the same,” he said.
Stark does not feel that carbon emissions are contributing to, or increasing, global warming. Instead, he feels that the temperature changes that we are currently experiencing are a part of our natural ecology, as with the Ice Age in prehistoric times. However, as he says, this does not mean that we cannot develop sound ecological practices that reduce the impact we have on the earth.
David Hall, a physiotherapist, trainer and facilitator, is another health and fitness practice operator that thinks about the environment, before he carries out his daily work duties.
“I have a long-term involvement as a volunteer with environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society and Beyond Zero Emissions,” said Hall. “I have a variety of ways that I try to decrease environmental impact. I use 100 percent green power and, where possible, I use services and select venues that do the same. I limit paper use and, as a wellness trainer, I often refer to the importance of protecting our green spaces and air quality,” he said. “I also refer interstate work to local providers to reduce travel emissions. Plus, part of my work activity includes cycle trips that have a sustainable focus.”
Hall says that he aims to inspire others through example, this includes wellness training and environmental facilitation via organisations and the support of worthwhile environmental causes.
“I think we are in strife because the financial bottom-line seems to trump the social and environmental bottom-lines,” said Hall. “I, like anthropologist Jared Diamond, am cautiously optimistic, as I agree that our current behaviour is heading towards the collapse of all that we hold dear, along with the resources that sustain us,” he said. “This is very hard to watch, especially now that I am a father.”
Hall firmly believes that we are all responsible for the environment that sustains us.
“This is not simply an interest,” he said. “This is a requirement for our survival.”
“All of us who value our lives and the lives of our loved ones, are concerned about the environment. We just have different ways of expressing this,” said Hall. “Some of choose to face this fear and take affirmative action. Others make a loud blocking noise of protest and state that the fear is not justified. They insist that global warming is not influenced by us,” he said. “These head-in-the-sand pundits, such as Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition, are slowing down progress and need to be braver.”