Image via WikipediaToday's Gulf News, weighing in at a record low 400g incidentally, carries remarkable exercise in hypocrisy.
The newspaper's front page is a clarion call and exhortation to us all to save our planet. This comes from a consortium of 56 newspapers in 45 countries, all of whom have made the same mistake of assuming that we are paying them to nag us rather than provide us with the news, analysis and context that we are told we can expect from our newspapers.
Rather than run this extraordinary editorial on a wrap-around (for instance, seeking sponsorship to offset the additional cost), Gulf News has instead decided to sacrifice the front page entirely, leaving us with today's lead story being the page 3 report on the UAE's prevalence of childhood tooth decay.
Perhaps I am being far too critical and grumpy, but the exhortation to save the planet sat oddly with me, coming as it does from a medium comprised of dead trees. In fact, even today's slimmed down Gulf News consumed something like 46,000 kilos of paper if we are to apply the paper's 2008 BPA audited circulation of 115,000 copies. That's knocking on 17 thousand tonnes of paper per year - and at GN's 2008 weight of 1.2 kilos, we'd have been looking at a whopping 50 tonnes of paper, not including all those fascinating supplements on air conditioning, Malta and Peridontal Marmoset Splicing that brighten up GN's readers' lives.
If all of the newspapers in the global 'we're running an editorial that calls on our leaders to be more green' group have the same pagination and run as GN (and many, incidentally, have a significantly higher pagination and run), their daily collective impact on the planet is the consumption of over two million kilos of paper - a commodity that is made out of dead trees.
If Gulf News had offset its carbon, I'd be more willing to bear with the self-righteous finger-wagging. If it had made any contribution whatsoever to research or 'green' charities , I'd be inclined to admiration (and no, I don't consider a one-off stunt of circulating printed jute bags to subscribers as being significant or even terribly helpful). If it had made a commitment to recycled paper, soy-based inks or other 'green' technologies, I'd be more willing to listen - although I have to note the editorial actually contains very little original or even interesting content that advances the debate it professes to contribute to.
But no, none of the above apply. Gulf News has instead contented itself with taking away a lump of the news that I have paid for and substituting it with a rambling piece of poorly hashed together pompousness that truly beggars belief.
Printed. On. Dead. Trees.