Why should I be holding this paper in this digital age?
If I am old fashioned, paper means a lot. In spite of all the legislation for granting legal authority to digital documents, the old fashioned would believe in a printed and ink signed document than a document originating from a verified ISP that is digitally signed.
And my friendly neighborhood paper boy including the publishers tell me there is nothing like reading a printed newspaper. By the way, the printed newspapers are the worst destroyers of environment. You print something that has value only for one day. As self appointed guardians of the society you do not feel ashamed to glamourize something that is harmful for the environment.
It is high time all printing of newspapers sopped. There is no need for this in this digital age. Newspaper agencies must tie up with aggregators and try to find out a revenue model.
The paper is after all a symbol that as we get educated we destroy the environment in the process. The unfortunate thing is that even though science has now provided an alternate and corona has now provided a window to go digital we fail to capitalise on it citing economic compulsions.
In reality there are no economic compulsions in the long run. All the limitations are in our mind. The newspaper boy who used to deliver the printed newspaper to our home had a more digitally advanced mobile than me. Vending newspaper was not his prime profession. It was just an complementary profession for him. There may be some for whom printing could be the primary profession. But such people could be provided with alternate livelihood commensurate with the digital age. Where there is a will there is a way.
Contrary to what people believed, introduction of computers in India and other countries actually created more jobs and more highly paid jobs. Yes, any new technology may make a certain segment of workers redundant. But, it has been observed time and again that there have been overall increases in number of jobs due to introductions of new technologies.
The problem is not that we are now not aware of the implications to our environment because of our activities. No doubt the damage to the environment has been due to the use of scientific innovations to increase efficiency and economise production cost. At the same time it is by using the scientific methods that we are able to measure the extent of damage to the environment and find remedy.
The problem is – even though we know the remedy, we don’t act. Here ‘we’ includes all the stake holders even though the bulk of the responsibility falls on the policy makers.
There are various reasons for our reluctance. As is clear form the newspaper story, we are afraid of immediate economic loss to the commercial organizations accompanied by job loss. In any country there are influential groups who would go to any extent to stop new policy that are good for environment but bad for their own pockets. Thus we continue using resources and methods that are not environment friendly.
Then there are those who think the threat is remote. We are already experiencing the effect of our excess commercial exploration of environment in the form of expanding deserts and unproductive soil, erratic weather, global warming, ozone hole and so on. We forget that whether near or remote the threat is real. Sooner or later karma catches up.