Author: Tom Pollock

WRI Shows Us What the Risks to the Global Water Supply Look Like

The recently released Aqueduct tool from the World Resources Institute is an excellent example of the effective visual presentation of complex data. Aqueduct measures and maps water risk, and the project recently completed new research that “scores water-related risks facing 180 countries and 100 river basins. This is the first national-level data of its kind, evaluating competition for available water supplies, annual and seasonal supply … More

New Pressures on the Forest—Insights from Page One: Inside the New York Times

An excellent documentary film from last summer, Page One: Inside the New York Times, covers topics ranging from the Tribune Company bankruptcy, WikiLeaks, online news business models, and many current subjects impacting the Times and the news industry in general. There are many interesting elements of the film, (including any part with David Carr, the Times media columnist), but what I thought was particularly interesting … More

What’s the Future for Alternative Fibers?

Paper—at least in a historical context—really didn’t have much to do with trees and forests until as recently as 1843. We’re quick to connect paper and forests, but for the 2,000-odd years proceeding 1843, paper was derived almost exclusively from recycled textiles such as hemp, linen, and cotton. What might be even more surprising is that in the time since papermaking from wood fiber was … More

Gibson Guitar and the Lacey Act: Real Issue of Illegal Logging Waiting in Vain

Federal agents raided offices and factories belonging to Gibson Guitar Corporation last week for the second time in two years, seizing documents, computer hard drives, pallets of wood, guitars, and tools. The raid was based on Gibson’s suspected violations of the U.S. Lacey Act, a 111-year-old anti-trafficking statute originally passed to protect wildlife, but more recently expanded to cover wood products with the goal of regulating … More

Save an Email, Save the Forests?

A recent Wall Street Journal opinion article, “Save a Forest: Print Your Emails,” has received a lot of attention lately. Its writer makes the point that in spite of the familiar “do not print this email” request, it is perfectly fine to print your emails given the fact that paper is “renewable, recyclable, and sustainable.” Those with differing opinions are, of course, flabbergasted at what … More