This installment of a continuing feature looks at the efforts of Earth Care to promote recycled paper, pays tribute to an advocate of biodynamic agriculture, and briefly profiles a few other people.
John and Carol Magee are dedicated to helping people translate environmental concern into action. Carol has worked for the Michigan legislature's Senate Environmental Committee and started a local Sierra Club group. John has worked for nature centers, teaching folks to appreciate and respect the natural world.
In January of 1983, recognizing the need to increase the availability and use of recycled paper, the couple started Earth Care Paper Company. The Magees, each of whom has a bachelor's degree in environmental education, point out that 17 trees must be killed for every ton of new paper produced. Recycling not only greatly reduces this waste but also saves energy: The manufacturing process for recycled paper uses only about half as much energy as does that for new paper.
Unfortunately, a mere 5% of all printing and office paper is made from recycled fiber. Lack of consumer demand has been cited as the reason for this low percentage, and so John and Carol are trying to convince organizations and individuals of the need to choose the ecologically superior product.
By educating the public and making attractive recycled paper readily available, the Magees are working hard to change the "American waste ethic." They're hoping that society will come to view "waste paper" not as a burden, but as a resource.
Biodynamic agricultural consultant Peter Escher died last May 19. A living spirit of the garden, elfish Mr. Escher often advised — and charmed — MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Eco-Village gardeners, and provided much information to this magazine about biodynamics. Most important, he helped hundreds of people create truly living soil, and thus farm and garden successfully as well as ecologically.
Always a determined individual — "Don't try biodynamic methods," he told us, "really use them! There are too many putterers in the world already!" — Peter knew when his years of illness were reaching their end. His doctors told him he was recovering, but Peter declared otherwise ...and at 8:30 PM, he took a deep breath and died.