Softer Copies Please.
Technology is penetrating our societies more and more everyday. Where we used to have a camera, we now have a phone. Where we used to do manually, we now have a software. Where we had humans, we now have robots. It’s called change, and change is inevitable.
However, with all this change and shifting to technology, there seems to be an essential part we forget or overlook. The area of soft copy and hard copy, or simply, paper. The increase in digital devices: desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets have made it easy and cheap to create and use documents without needing paper. Including books and magazines, digital format is becoming the way to go.
But I’ve made an observation, particularly in the University and in many offices: We are still stuck on paper. We are given assignments, we do them on our computers, but we have to submit in paper. The teacher gives hand outs, and each of us has to print a copy. Even ridiculously, I noticed some lecturers who come to class with just their smart phones, and DICTATE notes. In fact, there’s one who does the dictation at notoriously high speeds, the whole class ends up confused, with notes looking like broken passages.
On top of not writing the notes comprehensively, we waste time that could have been saved had the lecturer just forwarded the notes to the class WhatsApp group then coming to class to just discuss and do presentations. And we also waste paper.
The assignments we are given could be submitted in soft copy too, saving students time, money and ultimately saving trees.
My point here is we need to take advantage of the technology available to us now to save time, money and most importantly the environment.
Climate change is real. And if we don’t act quick, situations could catch up with us all over Africa. It’s time we started saving trees, by any means necessary. And one way is to reduce usage of paper.
In my opinion, writing and documentation should be executed digitally except where it is impossible or inappropriate. You’ll realize that actually much of this work doesn’t need printing as we take it. If it can remain soft, let it be.
Governments should be planning on how to get digital devices to schools, especially primary and secondary schools, or pupils can be allowed to carry these devices altogether. Text books, if made available in soft copy, will save a lot of trees, parents’ money, loss of books, reduce theft, even piracy and many other ripple effects may arise.
I don’t have the blue print to soft copy ‘age’ but if we have enough of us, including government officials, pushing for it, something tangible will be achieved.
And a good reason why we need to do it is to avert the imminent danger overlooking us from climate change.