The Creative Circus Students Say, “Nice Backside” to Used Paper

Christina Caluda, a student at The Creative Circus, eagerly reaches for one of the free booklets made from the backsides of student papers. Photo: Marc Risik

When Blue Planet Green Living received a press release from The Creative Circus, a school that specializes in training the creative geniuses of the future in advertising, design and other fields, it seemed only natural to ask that a student write the story for us. So, we invited Sarah Gatling, a copywriting student at The Creative Circus, to submit the news article for publication. She’s a bit shy about taking credit, as she’s writing about an event she helped organize, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s Sarah’s report on yesterday’s activities at Creative Circus. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

The event team posted notes saying, "Nice backside" on used paper. Photo: Marc Risik

As you might guess from its name, students at The Creative Circus, an advertising portfolio school in Atlanta, are among the most talented and creative minds in the nation. Constantly immersed in the creative process, they learn what it takes to excel in the advertising, interactive, design, and photography industries. And they learn that “what it takes” is often a lot of paper.

A small group of students realized that members of the student body were discarding more than 5000 sheets of paper per week on campus. More shocking: Most of this paper was being recycled after it had only been used on one side.

At a school where creativity reigns king, they knew something unprecedented had to be done to change the way paper is used.

Posters such as this one informed students and faculty of the reason behind the project. Photo: Marc Risik

On Monday, July 19th, students, faculty, and administration were stunned when they arrived to a campus adorned in advertisements and free notebooks made using students’ previously discarded paper. The message? Flip the page over and use the backside. Fresh ideas don’t need fresh sheets of paper.

It may seem obvious that using the backside of paper for brainstorming and sketching would drastically reduce paper usage. But students are proud of their ideas, and want them presented as nicely as possible in class. The challenge of the campaign lay in shifting the paper usage paradigms of the students and faculty.

The surprise, paper production was unconventional and well-received. The positive buzz that the advertisements and notebooks generated in the colorful hallways speaks of a greener future at The Creative Circus.

Sarah Gatling

Guest Contributor

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Notes from Iowa: Peace on Earth in 2010

I wish the world peace and low-carbon skies in 2010. Photo: © Ackley Road Photos -

As we greet the beginning of a new year and a new decade, let’s remember what is truly important: Saving our planet and caring for each other. We cannot do the first without doing the second. And, if we do not pull together to end the climate crisis, we will have fought each other over a planet that we don’t get to keep. Humankind will be “history,” but there will be no one left to read the records of our misdeeds.

Yet, the climate crisis is far from our only serious problem. We are warring with each other over religion, ethnicity, property, power, and money. We fight and kill each other in the name of our god, presumably the same almighty being we call by different names: Allah or Jehovah or God or Yahweh or another name entirely. To me, it makes no sense. I cannot envision an almighty being who would be pleased to have humans killing and torturing each other in the name of religion. And yet, historically, religion has been one of the major reasons we’ve shed blood, seized property, and enslaved other humans.

In my view, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can — and must — change the way we treat each other and our planet, if we want to survive as a species.

In this era of instant communication, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, SoAct, and dozens of other social network sites bridge the divide of miles and cultures. Suddenly, we have friends on the other side of the planet — people we would never have known in our entire span of time on this earth. We’ve connected electronically, but we wouldn’t recognize these people  on the street.

Through social networks, we come to know our electronic friends as real people, who live, breathe, love, hurt, rejoice, sing, work, cry, and play. We learn just how much they are like us, even as their religions, cultures, and daily lives are different from our own. If we are open to it, we can even befriend individuals whose nations are warring with our own. We can create an atmosphere for peace, one friend at a time.

I’m especially grateful for Facebook as I start this new decade. It has brought me friends in nations I’ve only read about. I have a new “daughter” in Palestine, a dear young woman who has “adopted” me as I have “adopted” her. I am getting to know what she cares about, what scares her, and what she loves. Likewise, she is learning about me and my family.

Two young men also call me “mama,” one in Bangladesh and one in Italy. What’s it like in the US? they want to know. Then, What’s it like in your country? I ask in return. Like young people everywhere, they want desperately to find someone to love. We’ve had a lot of heart-to-heart talks about life, dating, and relationships, much as I have spoken with my own young-adult children. I can only imagine their parts of the world, as they imagine mine. But we have a bond of friendship.

Another young friend, a university student who lives in Pakistan, feels devoid of hope. His heart is broken, and he says there’s nothing for him to live for. Besides the loss of his love to an arranged marriage the girl cannot avoid, there are suicide bombers attacking his city, making his daily life a waking nightmare. I reach out with comfort, but I’m not there, and I don’t really know what to say to make him feel better. I feel his pain, as I would feel the pain of any friend I cared for; yet, I’ve never even seen his face.

We all have worries and fears, wherever we live. We are not so different, whether we are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, agnostic, atheist — or observe any other religion or tradition. Another new friend today declared his wish that the world will become “one family, whatever the religions, thoughts, traditions, and ethnicity.” I share his hope.

But, it is critically important to remember, as another young man from India wrote today, “All should know that to change the world, we must start from ourself.” He was writing about climate change, but his words apply equally well to making peace on earth a reality.

Will you join me in making 2010 a year of peace and understanding as we also work to preserve the world we share?
YouTube Preview Image

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Facebook: Julia Wasson

Twitter: OrganicPlanet