So as I was taking a short break from doing my job yesterday, I downloaded this report that everyone’s talking about, in its original French. I expected a long report taking up far more paper than is necessary, and I wasn’t disappointed.
But I noticed something on one of the pages of the report:
I thought that was funny because the report had so many blank pages in it, to serve as bookends for the title pages. I did a quick count of the blank pages and mentioned to my boss that of the 310 pages in the report, 34 were entirely blank (not a single dot of ink).
She asked me to give her a couple of paragraphs saying that, and it turned into the shortest article I’ve ever written, in today’s paper. (It was a bit longer than that to begin with, but it was cut down for space, and also because it went on a bit too long, by a ruthless copy editor who ironically turned out to be myself).
Admittedly, both the environmental policies and the blank pages are common practice in government reports. The Johnson Commission report (PDF) has a similar notice (though it actually calculates how much of the planet you’re saving), and also has blank pages (though not as many).
Without the blank pages and title pages (including pages that repeat the title page or just include photos of the commission chairs, but not including the environmental/copyright notice above which is on an otherwise blank page), the Bouchard-Taylor report would have 60 fewer pages, for a 19% reduction in paper use.
Wouldn’t that have been better for the environment?