Losing yourself in the wilderness is one of the greatest joys of life. It allows the mind a chance to think, it gives the soul a reprieve from everyday life, and it allows the body to relax. Getting lost in the woods, temporarily at least, can provide a much-needed respite from the rush of everyday life.
To continue enjoying the raw beauty of nature, we must turn to sustainable choices in our lives, large and small. Each year approximately 300,000 acres of trees are turned into paper in the United States alone. This paper is mostly used in offices when pure white copy paper is needed, and much of it is then tossed into the waste bin shortly after use. However, in our daily journals, weekly planners, and random note-catchers, we don’t need to be so frivolous. Plus, for an enhanced experience when writing in journals, notepads, or on stationery, I want paper that has some texture and a story behind it.
And if you’re like me when you walk into the woods with a journal, it’s easy to understand alternative paper options when standing amongst nature. Trees are a renewable resource, but there are several options out there that are even more sustainable that might surprise you.
With a little creativity, and by combining new and old techniques, it is amazing what can be made into paper. Paper sources have a wide range – here are just a few:
- Fiber from coconuts, mango leaves, banana tree-trunks, and many other fruits & vegetables.
- Cotton, flax, bamboo stalks, and hemp.
- Bushes like the lokta plant.
- Recycled clothing rags.
- Animal dung (there is a particularly high yield from elephant dung, and yes, even poo can be cleaned up and turned into a writing medium).
As easily renewable resources—and some that are harvested as waste or recycled products—all of the above paper sources make the argument for choosing an alternative form of paper that much stronger. The availability of tree-free alternatives in a sustainable harvesting fashion is so immense that if the demand increased for them, it could dramatically reduce the demand for paper made of trees.
We can choose to buy a journal, notebook, or other paper product that is made from new paper, OR we can choose to purchase an eco-friendly journal. Whether it is from 100% recycled paper originally made from trees or made from a sustainable alternative fiber, we as consumers have access to more alternative options than ever before (not to mention, more to weigh on our conscious with this information).
Getting out and enjoying nature at its finest is wonderful. Taking a notebook or journal to document the trip can create memories that will last a lifetime. But if trees are destroyed just to create those journals, nature can, and will, quickly disappear.
Meet the Writer: Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana, where he enjoys amazing access to the great outdoors the area has to offer. With years of wandering in the backcountry, and a love for the environment, he transfers his experiences exploring the great outdoors to guides and stories of surviving in the wilderness.