More on Paper vs. Screen: The Creative Process

I thought that, as a reasonably quick reader and a user of a laptop that sips 8W of power while in use ((With the screen turned low and with wi-fi turned off.)), it would almost always make sense for me to work with content electronically (To Print or Not to Print?).  While sitting in a meeting, it struck me that, on an almost daily basis, there are pages of text with which I spend more than an hour.  I was, of course, thinking about writing my depth paper.

As an someone who lives in Ontario, spending so much time on a page seems to be bad, from a carbon perspective.  While I doubt my colleague Jon Pipitone is the slowest writer evar, even when I’m at top speed, I can rarely crank out a page of text an hour.  Notes from multi-hour meetings rarely result in even a page of hand-written notes.  If Ontario had cleaner energy, it might make sense for me to type on my laptop (though not with a desktop, unless we’re using, say, wind power), but as things stand, handwriting or typing on my iPod Touch seem to be the choices with the smallest carbon footprint.

As a relatively fast reader with a particularly energy-stingy laptop, consuming content on a screen is an easy decision (okay, it’s hard to read from a laptop while standing on a subway…).  But for laborious content creation, I’m going to try to use paper or an iPod from now on (e.g. note-taking and first-drafts for things that don’t require a computer).  While I haven’t done an analysis, I doubt the use of a mechanical pencil is that much worse than creating a toner cartridge.  My handwriting is small enough that I won’t be using too much paper.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem of my illegible writing.  Will somebody please pass me a typewriter?

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