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The children love drawing and cutting and sticking and making things. Which is great; I love that they are so creative, and I try to give them freedom to do the things they want. We use alot of paper – every month our paper recycling bin is full to overflowing, and still our house is full of it. Children’s art is stuck up all over the place, and we send copious amounts of it to grandparents and other lucky family friends and relatives to share the joy (and lessen the pile we have here.

But every so often I turn round and look at the piles of paper covered in scribbles, cut into tiny pieces, or ripped up and I think about the trees that made them. How many trees have been cut down to allow them the privilege of being able to do that? How much bleach has been used to make all that paper white? What is the real cost of these drawings?

I try to talk to the children about the importance of looking after things and being aware of how much stuff they’re using (and wasting), but they aren’t yet really conscious of how privileged they are. So for now I sometimes have to sit on my hands as they use yet another piece of bleached white paper from the stack by the printer. Where should I draw the balance between consumerism and creativity? How to nurture the second while minimising the first?

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