The Black Lines of Least Resistance
It is one of the inexplicable paradoxes of our times that when children are being weaned away from colouring books in the name of creativity — sticking to those black borders is feared to stifle their nascent free-spiritedness — adults have taken to them with a vengeance as the repetitive act of colouring is thought to be therapeutic. Not only have these jumped to the top of bestselling books lists, they may even be causing a run on colouring pencils. Leading pencil makers are no doubt ecstatic about their12-fold rise in sales in the last couple of years, where once they probably were mournfully contemplating oblivion in the face of virtual colouring options. In that case, these colouring book addicts are obviously the newest threat to the planet, though their chosen fix is being touted as a more organic, anti-technology pastime. Toilet paper, it is well known, causes the pulping of millions of trees every year, even if they are from ‘sustainable’ forests: such as fast-growing pine plantations in rainforest country. But then, toilet rolls can be deemed an essential commodity. Colouring books and pencils, on the other hand, are definitely not a necessity, especially for anyone beyond junior school. There are plenty of satisfyingly repetitive but less ecologically damaging paths to inner peace, such as knitting and crocheting, not to mention drumming and gymming.