Culture, Mindfulness, Modern Life, Writing

The internet has turned me into a distracted tree killer

The internet, while seemingly a solution to the problem of the environmental impact of paper, is in fact turning me into a murderer.

Of trees.

For the past decade, I’ve been an obnoxiously devoted supporter of replacing paper with screens.

I’ve forsaken writing, receiving, and hoarding handwritten letters in exchange for emails. I’ve replaced the amusing 20 minutes I used to spend browsing the  greeting card aisles of the Hallmark store in exchange for working too hard on a mildly humorous  Facebook birthday greeting. I’ve even given up one of my greatest pleasures — lounging in a hot bath with a paperback — because now I read on Kindle and I’m too afraid of electrocution to bring my IPAD within five feet of a pool of water.

Did Al Gore, when he created the internet, carelessly forget about this thing called evolution that has now made it literally impossible for me to read on screen anything longer than 300 words?!

Yes. I admit it. I cannot read on screen anything longer than six paragraphs. All those articles I share on Twitter? Only read the first 300 words. Skimmed the rest. Occasionally I will force myself to read an entire 1000-word post of a good friend first by leaning in (thank you Sheryl Sandberg) and then by literally hugging the monitor close to my face, forcing my mind to process each and every word.

When I really need to read something I don’t want to read — because for some reason, people keep writing ARTICLES, CONTRACTS, and DOCUMENTS longer than 300 words and I am professionally bound to edit and/or respond to those documents — I print them out on paper. I have to. Otherwise, I black out and find myself mindlessly scrolling Pinterest.

Yes, tree killing is coming back. Watch. You’ll see.  You and me — we’re headed towards a killing spree.

4 thoughts on “The internet has turned me into a distracted tree killer”

  1. At least the inernet has taught me “word count”. If reading a piece on screen, my will power crashes at, or just before, 500 words. I too am beginning to first write my posts on paper so I’ll just keep planting trees to salve my conscience.


  2. Ah yes! I think that this post must strike a chord with so many of us who try to do our bit —recycling every scrap and avoiding the use of paper. BUT oh it is so warm, so tangible, so sensual. I need the physical pen moving across page to think and write sometimes and love my notebooks and journals with heavy weighted paper (more pulp = more trees). I have even lived in the vicinity of a paper mill and the clear cuts that fed it. I do plant trees (apple trees) and choose to live with the guilt anymore. 🙂


  3. The reading isn’t so bad for me. I seem to have a natural aversion to reading magazines and such electronically. It has to be a book. Longer the better.
    But….. I’m a musician, piano player. And tho I find it convenient to compose and arrange using electronics, it sometimes feels more like construction than composition. So in an effort to reestablish some kinda balance, I’ve started recording myself practicing circular breathing on a didjiridoo. That and the drum have got to be the root of all music and it’s soothing too! This I relearned from helping my grand daughter with equations. Create balance


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