Researchers Across the Globe – Are You Ready for a Challenge blog

Researchers Across the Globe – Let’s build a digital forest!

2 min read

Let’s plant the digital forest together! What is this all about? There is an ongoing debate about whether saving paper has anything to do with saving trees and whether the rise of digital technology is better or worse for the environment.

We are using the whole array of digital and electronic solutions on a daily basis, for work or private purposes. From our cars to the old centrifuge we want to replace in the lab. Modern technology has taken the way we do science to the next level. We can’t go back in time and in most cases, we wouldn’t really want to.

The challenge that lies ahead of us is how to manage the growing amount of scientific data and find the balance between the use of digital technology and keeping the trees growing instead of transforming them into piles of paper on our desks.

We are going paperless to save money, time, and trees. Beyond the toll it takes on our natural resources, there are many other costs associated with a paper-based culture: printing services, delivery, mailing, storage, processing, disposing and recycling. Copier and printer supplies alone amount to a huge expenditure. Last year, the University spent roughly $680,000 on copier paper and twice that amount on toner.Yale

In search for a solution, we weighed the main arguments for and against the replacement of paper with digital solutions.

The Rise of Digital Technology

“On the surface, digital media does appear more sustainable. Electronic products such as phones and laptops are used over and over again, making it a renewable resource of sorts. But manufacturing electronic products also leaves a carbon footprint, as well as the energy needed to power them. And a growing concern is the rapid growth of discarded electronics.” Guardian

Go Green, Go Paperless

More than 20 leading US companies removed the “Go green, go paperless” claims from their emails etc. Some of the main reasons being “Marketing messages like “save trees” create a false impression that forests are a finite resource that is being destroyed instead of a renewable resource that is continuously replenished using sustainable forest management practices.” CSRWire

But on the other hand…

“Paper has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Detractors claim paper manufacturing leads to mass deforestation and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The ideal situation is that we use both electronic and print media in a way that meets our social and environmental and economic needs.” Guardian

Challenge accepted!

We believe that strategic planning, awareness campaigns, and projects to replace paper-based processes are necessary in modern laboratories. Even if people insist on paper, they still use printers, computers and all other technology that comes with it without even thinking about it. SciNote decided to raise the awareness and reduce the unnecessary use of paper in modern, cutting-edge labs. We want to become the agents of change. If we can save one tree, we will.

Planting the Digital Forest

  • For every A4 sheet that the user saves in SciNote, he or she will be awarded with one Leaf.
  • When the user collects 100 Leafs, this is an equivalent of saving one Tree branch.
  • After saving 100 Branches, the user has saved an equivalent of one Tree and SciNote will plant it in the digital forest.

SciNote is an open source software and it is free to use. Now and forever.

Feel free to invite your friends and colleagues to join us in planting the Digital Forest, tree by tree. You would be surprised how fast the numbers grow when you pay attention. So instead of piling papers on our desks, let’s grow the Digital Forest together.

Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.