De-papering environmental summits

Thousands of trees are still breathing

By Janet Raloff, 11:35 AM June 22, 2012

This week, the United Nations hosted a major conclave in Rio de Janeiro — the 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development. Widely referred to as Rio+20, its timing commemorated the 20th anniversary of the so-called Earth Summit in this Brazilian capital. As one token — but highly visible — gesture toward sustainability, the new event encouraged all attendees to shrink their paper footprints. Apparently, most complied.

“Normally, at a big conference like Rio+20, we would have used more than 2...

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