One of my tasks during the summer is to collect the waste from the 22 bear-proof trash cans we have located around where I work. It’s frankly depressing, the sheer volume of trash and recycling which is generated every single day by families. One of the recycling items always overflowing the bins are newspapers.
Look, I understand that this is the information age, and that people like to “keep informed” and what not. But newspapers are made from paper. Paper is made out of trees. And a newspaper’s value is pretty much zilch after the day it is printed, except to be used as bird cage floor coverings.
But how could newspapers be replaced? I think they kind of already are, in that many people are shifting from getting their news from newstands to getting their news on-line. Shit, it’s mostly free that way anyway, and if news only has value around the time it occurs anyway, then keeping up with your information on-line is much more effective, as news happens all day, all night.
The problem is that people without constant and reasonably priced access to the internet need to stay informed, too. However, there are extremely cheap laptops that have been designed for distribution to underdeveloped countries which cost roughly 100 dollars. These could be made available in areas of poverty in the US. Or, alternatively, cheap internet cafes, such as what I visited daily whilst in Peru, could supply the need for internet access. Everyone should have access to the internet, because it is a vast resource of information, as well as a means of networking and communicating outside of the bounds of your immediate social and cultural environment.