The Future Of Paper

This first episode of The Tomorrow Show, concerning the Future of Paper, was an adventure for us. And I never thought I'd use the words "paper" and "adventure" in the same sentence.Don't get me wrong: I'm not one of those paper haters, blaming the sorry state of the environment on office workers with hair-trigger printer fingers. Yes, it's inefficient to print out the 24-page Wikipedia entry on the Beatles when a simple Google search will remind you that the name of Ringo's predecessor was Pete Best. (You really should know this without having to look it up.)

But paper consumption is not even near the top of our list of eco-threats. A sheet of paper can be recycled five times before the fibers grow too short. And while paper consumption doubled between 1980 and 2000, it's been on a slow decline since then.

No, I'm not anti-paper. I just thought it was kind of boring. I took it for granted. (I hadn't set foot in a Kate's Paperie in years.) When you watch this piece, hopefully you'll come to appreciate and care for paper in the same way I have.

What you won't see in the piece:

Jim Juczak, the guy who lives in a house made of paper, was really generous and gave us lots of snacks, including homemade jerky.

A few weeks back Roy Blount, Jr. fell in a creek with his iPod and only barely kept it from going underwater. This kind of danger is one of the reasons he's not really comfortable with a Kindle. (Yes, he understands that you can't be electrocuted by holding a wet Kindle.)

Origamist Sok Song's portfolio is mesmerizing. You can also download easy-to-follow sheets to make your own paper space shuttle and fortune teller.

Wiggle chairs by Frank Gehry available at:

Paper table available at:

Special thanks to:

  • Robert C. Williams Paper Museum
  • Roy Blount, Jr.
  • Plastic Logic eReader
  • Xerox
  • Sentinel Bioactive Paper
  • Fisher International
  • Jim Juczak
  • Pennsylvania Paper Supply Company
  • Sok Song