White Paper – Mike Middleton

1. Recycling helps reduce the number of trees that are cut down and increase the efficiency of using paper. Since it is found that trees sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and can retain it even after being cut down, it is more environmental to cut and replant. Older trees are actually carbon neutral because they output just as much CO2 as they retain. This makes younger trees much more effective at improving the ratio of oxygen to carbon. This means it is more effective for cleaning atmosphere to cut down the oldest trees and replant new ones in their place. Let’s say that a single plot of land, regardless of its size, is made up of 50% trees that are old (Carbon Neutral) and 50% young trees. If the old trees are cut down and manufactured into paper, they are still retaining their carbon and new more effective trees are planted where they once were.

2. The best way to help save the atmosphere would be to not cut down any trees or forests. Paper plays a very important role in our society because it can be turned into thousands of products so deforestation can’t be eliminated. Instead it  is more environmental to use paper where plastic is used whenever possible. Not many people know that even though trees are cut down and cooked, after the process the paper can still absorb carbon dioxide from the air. ” Paper can, even after manufacture, printing, distribution, and eventual disposal, still carry a significant carbon credit, in some cases equal to 200 kilograms (440 lb) of carbon dioxide per tonne of paper.”

Additional Arguments:

Though making paper can reduce CO2, deforestation releases carbon back into the atmosphere.

  • “When trees are burned, harvested, or otherwise die, they release their carbon back into the atmosphere.”
  • “Trees capture carbon dioxide by taking it into their cells through photosynthesis. They then store the carbon in their bodies; a tree is comprised of about 50 percent carbon.”
  • “Loss of forests contributes as much as 30 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions each year–rivaling emissions from the global transportation sector.”

Hemp and bamboo grow much faster and could be a lot more effective at making paper.

  • Bamboo is very affective at making paper because it  grows extremely fast, 3 to 4 feet per day and is very aesthetically pleasing.
  • ” A bamboo grove also releases some 35 percent more oxygen into the air than a similar-sized stand of trees, and it matures (and can be replanted) within seven years (compared to 30-50 years for a stand of trees), helping to improve soil conditions and prevent erosion along the way.”

Algae makes up for the largest portion of oxygen creation.

  • While this is true, it is by a miniscule amount. ” Explain to students that rainforests are responsible for roughly one-third (28%) of the Earth’s oxygen but most (70%) of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by marine plants. The remaining 2 percent of Earth’s oxygen comes from other sources.”

3. The goal is to actually use more paper made from old trees and place them with younger trees. This makes the process of making paper more environmentally friendly. The younger trees will proficiently break carbon  down while the paper sequesters it.

4. Smaller topics can include:

Tree Cutting Effects:

If there is a more environmentally friendly way to cut down trees which puts less carbon back into the environment, then companies should be using those methods. This will convince more people to use paper and recycle it. With the discovery of paper creation being so environmentally friendly, more people will choose to take paper over plastic. This is beneficial because more people will (hopefully) choose to use and recycle paper instead of plastic, which degrades slower. Plastic frequently ends up in landfills and bodies of water instead of being recycled.

Annotated Sources

1. Why using paper is environmental

Trees in our environment are beneficial because they take carbon and break it down into the air that we breathe. This means the more trees we have in our environment the more CO2 that is removed and broken down.  Older trees are not able to breakdown the carbon dioxide as well as newer trees causing them to be carbon neutral. Owning a large piece of land with old trees is significantly less efficient than a large piece of land with young trees. Trees that are cut down retain their absorbed carbon as long as they are not burned, even if they are turned into paper.

I intend to use this as the main background to why paper is surprisingly found to be environmentally friendly. The broad information will allow me to lead into other topics which my other sources will cover.

2. “..use more wood, not less.”

A piece of paper’s life cycle starts when trees are cut down and manufactured. They are then used and recovered when they recycled. Paper is environmental because the only time it is detrimental towards the environment is when it is being manufactured, after which it  re-absorbs the carbon it once had. By using more paper, more trees must be planted. This gives us a world where there are a lot new trees absorbing carbon dioxide and paper products which are retaining it.

I intend to use this information to back up my argument for using more paper. This is essential because NZ Wood is a company which reinforces the creation and use of paper to positively benefit the environment. They have a lot of useful articles which go in to detail about sub-topics including climate change and science behind the abosrbtion carbon dioxide. “The growth of a stand of trees is not a straight line; growth starts slowly, builds up momentum, and then levels off as the trees reach maturity. Put in mathematical terms, growth is sigmoidal not linear.” This can be used to further affirm that the effectiveness of trees pertaining to carbon dioxide levels off as they mature.

3. Little Known Tree Facts

Trees don’t live forever so it is not necessary to keep the old trees that are going to be die off anyway. This is not to mention that the life-span of a tree is significantly shortened if there are germs that infect the trees.

I intend to use this information like the above sources I have found. The source provides more facts that can be used to help support the other statements that I make.

4. Planting Trees, Carbon Control, and Reforestation

The government and other organizations spend lots of money to control the amount of carbon dioxide that is put into the atmosphere. Contributors can include industries that emit large amounts of CO2 as a waste from chemical production, agriculture, and other types of production. Fortunately, forests save about $22 billion of the carbon control costs.

I intend to use this information to talk about why old trees should be cut down with new ones in their place. This provides an economical stand point for my argument which will make it stronger and more understandable.

5. Negative Plastic Bag Facts

So many plastic bags are used every year and yet such a small number of them are recycled. A lot of those that are not recycled end in oceans and other bodies of water. The bags that don’t end up in oceans, but rather landfills don’t fully degrade. Smaller fragments are left in the environment which soak up toxins and pollute the soil. It is also bad economically because retailers spend billions of dollars a year to sell their single-use plastic bags.

I intend to use this information to back up why the production of paper is more important than the production of plastic bags. It is important to have some information on it so that I can explain why to the people that would question paper over plastic.

Extra Sources:

Carbon Sequestering

More Negatives on Plastic Bags

More Eco-Facts

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4 Responses to White Paper – Mike Middleton

  1. davidbdale says:

    1. Mike if I understand the several claims here rightly, this is a brilliant brief argument that draws an irresistible conclusion. I’m not sure I do understand each of the individual claims, though, so I’ll need your help with that. Again on the plus side, defending the individual claims should give you more than enough material for a good paper.

    2. Stated this way, it’s clear the idea will be counterintuitive to many, but you might have to prove that first. Find a poll that says most Americans, for example, think using plastic bags is better than using paper bags, or that recycling used paper is better than producing new paper.

    Don’t say how, or why, or as though unless you really mean how, or why, or as though, Mike.

    I’ll be interested to see what harmful gases are produced by cutting down trees. I don’t understand the second refutation point at all (and I think you mean conscience). What gets wasted, the paper or the plastic? Interesting about hemp and bamboo: what’s their carbon/oxygen situation?

    3. I agree with you it’s wonderful to find a case of common knowledge turned on its head to reveal a wonderful solution where a problem was always suspected.

    4. Because of the vagueness of your “effects” statements, I have no idea how these topics contribute to your thesis, Mike, but I’m eager to find out. Details please, when you can.

    5. I disagree. Multiple views are not nearly as important as good science here. Once we’re sure a steady stream of new trees, cut and processed and replanted, is a clear positive process for scrubbing carbon from the air, THEN you can solicit multiple views on how much land to devote to the planting, and where, and how much water to devote to the process, etc. But your first concern should be to prove that the claims that define the process are true.

  2. mmiddleton1 says:

    Could you please look over this. I don’t know if I am going too off topic.

    • davidbdale says:

      Happy to help, Mike.

      First, I turned your grammar problems blue.
      Some violate the actual Basic Grammar rules. Others are 2nd-level problems, but still deprive your essay of credibility.

      How does recycling reduce the amount of paper we use? I do understand it requires cutting down fewer trees, but the same amount of paper is used . . . right?

      Older trees might be “carbon neutral” in terms of how much carbon they cycle, but the fact that they’re carbon sinks is still very important, yes? If they’re left to stand, they might hold that carbon for a hundred years. Once they’re cut, don’t they begin to surrender the carbon they’ve sequestered?

      It might be generally effective to cut down old trees if that were the only way to plant new ones, but wouldn’t it be better to plant new ones but let the old ones stand?

      You can’t quite say that “making paper . . . replaces carbon neutral tress with younger . . . trees.” It is certainly one method.

      In fact, the “tree” does decompose or burn, once it’s turned into paper, probably much faster than it would if it were left to stand.

      You haven’t named the “many harmful gases.” While you did provide a link, you shouldn’t force the readers of your White Paper to read your sources to get the basic information.

      The hemp/bamboo angle is interesting. I’m just not sure what the long-term plan is here, Mike. If they grow quickly but are quickly turned into paper, and the paper decomposes, where’s the benefit? Doesn’t the carbon simply cycle back into the atmosphere?

      Why does “the remaining part” of a tree “have to be broken down”?

      One thing you should definitely emphasize is that carbon dioxide is only one part of the gas cycle. The production of oxygen is at least as important. Even if the trees, hemp, and bamboo are cut down for paper, they certainly produce valuable oxygen while they’re growing.

      Your readers won’t care at all that your counterintuitive topic is of an unusual type.

      What sort of “efficiency” do you seek in tree cutting? Less manpower? Less waste? This is not at all clear.

      Is the degradation rate of plastic versus paper at all important? Does it help your argument? We hate to think of plastic lasting a thousand years in landfills, I guess, but isn’t plastic an excellent carbon sink as a result?

      5 is almost meaningless.

      Trees break down CO2 gas?

      In general, Mike, your annotations are more effective in their first paragraphs. The second paragraphs, beginning with the “This information . . . plan to talk about” example, adds very little to our understanding.

      That trees improve property values is the first time I think you’ve clearly wandered off the topic.

      Your explanation for source 3 is extremely confusing.

      Plastic that soaks up toxins sound like good things to me. Plastics that emit toxins, of course, would pollute the soil. Which is it?

      “easier to recycle . . . because . . . for single re-use?” I don’t follow. Recycling reduces energy consumption compared to what, Mike?

      In general, Mike, you don’t need to bash plastic. We already think it’s a negative. Concentrate on the surprising greenness of producing paper.

      On the other hand, if you can also demonstrate that pumping petroleum from the ground (releasing long-buried carbon back onto the earth’s surface), and turning it into plastic (trapping it back into something that degrades very slowly) is actually better than turning it into paper that quickly degrades and releases its carbon as a greenhouse gas, that might be the most counterintuitive conclusion of all.

      Keep reading and thinking. Whatever you discover can make a great thesis, regardless of whether it’s what you set out to prove in the first place. Stay open to surprise.

  3. mmiddleton1 says:

    Yo Hodges, could I please get a grade up in here?

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