It was my birthday a little while ago. I had some lovely cards – although, because my Facebook account is deactivated, for the first year since about 2008, I didn’t get that flurry of warm electronic wishes from friends far and wide.
I missed that, but I also reflected that for every card I received:
An artist or designer had been able to work creatively and be paid for it.
Trees had been cut down and shipped (and replanted – I’m sure all my cards are from sustainable sources) keeping loggers, machinery manufacturers, HGV drivers in employ
A paper manufacturer created pulp and made the card and the envelope it was posted in. Printers applied the design (and bought ink from its own manufacturers who in turn bought and made the dyes to colour the inks)
Somebody put it on a shelf in a shop and sold it. I hope whoever it was that chose it for me had the pleasure of looking through all the possibilities, finding one that they thought was just the thing. I’m sure they did – I had some really smashing cards.
Then it was written, stamped, posted, collected, delivered and received with great pleasure.
So many people had a hand in each of my birthday cards, so many livings and occupations were supported, so much wealth spread around our little economies, such a lot of tax paid and collected.
There are environmental issues to be tackled to be sure – but Facebook’s huge server farms have their problems too. What struck me more forcibly than ever was that at least with my cards it isn’t just Mark Zuckerberg – getting grotesquely, absurdly, undeservedly richer and richer – who benefits.
Thanks to you all – I’ll make sure to remember your birthdays too. x