What will Americans do in order to preserve their own green fields and oil refineries? What will Americans give up in order to keep their trees growing and their consciences clear of moral soot?
Not toilet paper, it seems.
For a stunning research study has landed upon my laptop with a conservative thump. This deep dive into American paper use was commissioned by Nitro, a company that, as far as one can tell, "develops intuitive solutions that enable people to work smarter with digital documents."
It seems that a mere 6 percent of Americans are prepared to reduce the reams of toilet paper they use in order to keep themselves fresh and ready for a frolic with bears in the woods.
On the other hand, 48 percent will happily reduce their use of newspapers--another slap on the cheek for The New York Times Sunday edition.
And 31.6 percent are willing to reduce their use of books. Yes, books. You know, things that you read to make yourself a more interesting soul.
I know you will say to me (by e-mail) that everyone's reading on Kindles and iPads anyway, so reducing books is a mere frippery.
And I will say to you: "Have you ever noticed how much toilet paper your guests, contractors and guest-lovers use?" Should you ever pay attention to these things, you might find yourself buying a 12-pack of two-ply toilet paper more often than you buy a 6-pack of the most interesting man in the world's beer.
You might not have been aware, but the National Geographic tells me that toilet paper makes 27,000 trees a day disappear.
I wouldn't wish to use these pages in order to offer an origami lesson in how to make better use of the roll that hangs on your bathroom wall. But surely it only takes a little will in order to stir the imagination.
If that fails, it only takes Sheryl Crow. For who could forget her entreaty to just use one mere square per bathroom visit.
I can find no diagrams or textbooks to support the geometry of her suggestion, but, at heart, we are all idealists.
Might it be that America will feel some sense of shame on hearing these results? Might it be that the nation will look at itself in the bathroom mirror before taking a seat and mutter: "I can conserve. I will conserve?"
Or are we so wedded to our toilet paper that we are prepared to wipe out our woods?