Reflections on a Paperless Society
We’ve all heard about the coming of a paperless society, especially since electronic devices play such a big part in our daily lives. A national scientific telephone survey was conducted by Poll Position this year.
The survey found that 56 percent of Americans said they don’t think the U.S. would ever be a paperless society, while 20 percent said yes, one day we’ll all go paperless. Twenty-four percent of Americans were undecided or had no opinion on the question. The 18-29 age group had the strongest opinion: surprisingly, 63 percent said the U.S. would never be a paperless society.
As for myself, and someone who is WAY out of the 18-29 age category, I don’t think the paperless society is here yet, and may not be for quite some time. We all know how the electronic revolution has evolved and many print publications are becoming obsolete. Today people are paying bills, buying their airline tickets and taking college-level classes online. Phone books, to-do lists, greeting cards, letters and calendars have gone digital. This digital surge does result in less paper usage, but then energy expenditures increase. It seems we may be trading one resource for another, which then eliminates any expected environmental benefits. Not to mention the loss of the tangible feel of magazines, books, newspapers, as well as the need for careers based on these means, such as journalists, printers, librarians, paper industry manufacturers, and even teachers.
The impact of the electronic revolution really has more do with how we as a society react to it versus deciding whether technology is good or bad. Why can’t paper coexist in this electronic world? If you think we can ever rid ourselves of our dependence on paper, remember your last visit to a doctor’s office. Forms, forms and more forms! From the basic health questionnaires, to the right-to-privacy paperwork, more disclaimers, more signatures recognizing that the disclaimer was received, read, and agreed to, and it goes on and on. As far as I’m concerned, paper is here to stay!