The Enduring Forests

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Something that moved me deeply

Whenever I return from a trip abroad it is one of my least favorite things to do to to visit my health insurance and re-apply. In Germany it is compulsory to be insured by one of these, regardless of your health and age. If you stay/live in Germany, you have to be insured.
I loathe the business simply for the bureacracy act that it is each time and for the fact that I dislike parting with my hard earned money dispite not having used a single service since my return.

Things being as they are I was procastinating the visit these last days. Yet, as it has been on my to-do list three times already, I decided to go and deal with it, so I can cross at least one thing off that dreadfully long list.

Knowing that I was going to go during busy office times, I went prepared. I packed my heavy ‘The Enduring Forests’ book (by Ruth Kirk and Charles Mauzy) intending to make the best of any amount of waiting time I should have to ‘endure’.

How I got the The Enduring Forests book in the first place

For various reasons I really like to shop in second hand stores. So every time I visit Canada I make it a habit to seek a thrift store at least once. Upon my arrival in Kamloops I managed to go with my friend, Edyta, and while browsing the book sections througouhly (mainly the non-fiction section) my hands fell on this beautifully done book. ‘But it is too big and heavy’ – I reasoned with myself and put it back into the shelf.

When leaving Canada two months later, I visited my friend again. Having found two great books about horses last time, I was determined to try my luck again. (And I really did get one more book.) To my pleasant surprise The Enduring Forests was still there. As it is my plan to ‘write’ my own photography book next year, I decidely put it in my basket together with a copy of the Green Book. I told myself: The first shall be a source of inspiration. The second shall help educate me and be used as reference in this blog. It clearly was meant to be 🙂

I did not make it far in the book, but…

Back to the office of the health insurance company. As soon as I had finished registering I sat down and pulled out my book. Like a good girl, I began to read. As often nowadays I started with the foreword. And was rewarded: The following words by Robert Michael Pyle definitely moved me deeply – because we are all guilty. It is the plague of consumerism that most of us happily embrace for our own comforts that makes the wheel spin…

Quote by Robert Michael Pyle about why forests have to die.
Why forests die: “[2] A species of greed and short-sightedness that is willing to convert Tongass giants into bolts of rayon , at our loss and someone’s great gain; willing even to mine the boreal smallwood […] to feed our unquenchable appetite for pulp.”
Written a long time ago, in 1995 or 1996, when the book was published, these words still seemed true to me. Ignorant as I am, maybe things have changed. Actually, they would definitely have changed. But I can only, with naive hope, add: ‘for the better’.

If you happened to have read my 60-Days without added sugar or chocolate diary entry about trees (and chocolate) you might remember; if not, let me tell you:

I quite love trees. They are such amazing and beautiful creations!

When reading these words, I humbly admitted though, that my love was nowhere near being as great as this persons. I had learned a similar lesson only recently…

A pack trip on potato mountain

Before the end of my stay at the Wilderness Lodge that I volunteered at this summer, I was blessed to have met some great guests. [Besides the blessing of (long waited for) rain washing away the smoke that had hung thick (though not as bad as in other places!) over our valley the three weeks before the trip.]
The day we left into the mountains we were greeted by an almost perfectly blue sky, sunshine and the beloved vista of mountains that the smoke had hidden for most of the time.

Our first day was but a short one, but one the next we ventured out on our horses to explore the range. I was happy about, yet humbled by, the many comments of the group, who consisted of some foresters. Clearly they are better educated on anything regarding trees than me. They commented on the beauty of some old alpine firs and white bark pine, whose gnarrled branches were covered with different lichen. And praised many other fine specimen that we rode past. It was refreshing how they loved so many things inside the forest already – without ever having seen the amazing scenery that this place had to offer!

It really reminded me, of how I had taken such things for granted recently. I clearly have grown used to the very healthy tree and wildlife populations I encountered while exploring similar pristine wilderness places.

“And we ponder“ – So do I!

I find it curious that the very book I bought for inspiration to write my own book, would remind me thus:

Another quote by Robert Micheal Pyle.
„And we ponder what it means to be dependant on forests – for life, for livelihood, for the glorys and fascination of the world, for the paper pulp on which to print our pleas for old growth protection.“

The spark to write this book was first lit about one year ago. In January, when I decided to really do it and took my first baby steps in the direction of starting my own business, I met the owner of matabooks (as mentioned here) during a business show .

I loved and still love the idea of GrasPaper!

Though it was not unexpected, I still felt disappointed, when he answered my hopeful question – if it was possible to print photographs on grasPaper –with a negative.

Since then I have been pondering how to make the book as sustainable as can be. FSC paper of course is the most obvious answer. Yet, I would have loved to use this environmentally friendly paper source! Even if it would only be used for the text pages. But that would make it more complicated and expensive, wouldn’t it?

It would also not answer my ideal of printing it locally. Indeed, the book will mainly concern a part of Canada, so why would I print and publish it at home? The shipping alone would ruin any sustainable advantages I could achieve by printing it in Germany. And so I continue to ponder…

If anyone of you should have an idea or can recommend a great way to print photography books. In a very environmentally friendly way AND in Canada– please let me know!!

To end it on a positive side note

Some sad news about the company Scheufelen, which produces the paper reached me in May. They were facing a huge problem – insolvency! – and it seemed like there was no hope for them. (That really frustrated me! Here we were presented with a way to produce paper in a water and energy efficient way. Using a fast regrowing, natural source instead of a slow growing one. Yet they struggled as no investor seemed to think it worthwhile to help them out! If I had had the money, I would have helped them and even started a new graspaper producing factory in the flat countryside of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan!)

Naturally, while writing about this post, I wanted to know about the future of the graspaper. A quick first research brought up no more reports about insolvency. A second look at the website showed it has been updated and changed! Looking further I finally learned that investors were found on June 29th. Meaning that they are now up and running. Producing more graspaper and thus saving trees from that fate! I’m truly happy to hear that. I can’t wait for them to expand … soon…. and hopefully to Canada! 😉

If you wonder about the book

It seems there are lots of ‘used’ books sold for a little price here. Though I would rather support another platform… It’s still good to buy used, rather than new books. “Reusing” already available resources is more sustainable than buying new. If you would rather have a pdf. It seems that there are several options around 🙂

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