Leaving a Green Thumbprint on
the Page: Steps Publishers Can Take to Reverse Global Warming
by Amy Wachspress
The Green Guide Girls at
Plant a Tree in Cherry Hill, NJ, sent me an email to tell me that they are
developing a directory of environmentally friendly companies in the publishing
industry. They asked me what my publishing company does to prevent climate
change. I replied that we are an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny independent publisher
and that we had printed our one and only book on 100 percent recycled paper.
Then, in the days that followed, I
kept thinking about their inquiry, and I realized that I have more to tell,
since I am passionate about this issue and have been my entire life.
Here is my list of ways that
publishing companies can help reverse climate change and contribute to the
preservation of planet Earth.
of the list: Print on 100 percent recycled paper.<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> When we founded Woza Books, my husband and I signed
the Green Press Initiative [see Erin Johnson’s “Green Textbooks,” June 2006;
and Rudy Shur’s “Pluses of Printing on Recycled Paper,” November 2006]. Here’s
a tip. Because the Canadian government provides subsidies to printers who use
recycled paper, Canadian printers offer better pricing than American printers
for printing on recycled. Contact them for reasonable price quotes. The bottom
line: Recycled paper costs more than virgin paper, but it uses 60 percent less
energy to produce.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Join the Green Press Initiative<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> to draw attention to the issue and the use of
recycled materials. Print the Green Press Initiative calculation of savings in
the back of your books. Visit <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>www.greenpressinitiative.org for more
recycled supplies in your office.
Recycle paper and turn it over to reuse for notes; recycle ink cartridges,
plastic shopping bags, and everything else that is recyclable.
the amount of paper you use and mail
by utilizing the Internet for promotions, marketing, advertising,
communications, financial transactions, etc.
your computers off at night. If
you have a flat-screen monitor, turn it off when it’s not in use, even during
the day. Turn off DVD players, TVs, monitors, and other electronic devices at
night (remember that equipment also uses power when on standby).
a greener author tour—perhaps
a regional tour in a fuel-efficient car. Use technology to do a virtual tour
with Webcasts, teleconferences, and podcasts. Set up a blog tour (see Steve
Weber’s article in the April 2007 <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>PMA Independent). Consider creative
solutions that use technology to bring the author out into the world without
fuel-guzzling, carbon-emitting travel. If air travel is essential, book direct
flights to use less fuel. A note of interest: Some cities offer hybrid car
rentals. Check out EV Rentals or Fox Rentals.
employees to reduce travel by working from home<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> by making adjustments and utilizing technology. In
fact, get rid of the office and let everyone work from home. One less location
to heat/cool, light, and commute to. Concerned about meeting? Use a conference
bridge to convene by phone.
you are still attached to the office, adjust work hours<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> to reduce the need to heat, cool, and light the
office. (Or better yet, run the office on alternative energy.) Do an
energy-efficiency audit and make a plan for improvements (such as better
weatherizing, improved heating/cooling system, more energy-efficient
appliances, and a ceiling fan—check out <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>www.energystar.gov/home for tips). Turn
the office lights off at night.
compact fluorescent light bulbs.
This is a big energy saver.
shrink-wrap books in little bundles
for shipping. Reduce packaging and use lightweight recycled paper as packing
business with other green businesses
and environmentally conscious vendors. Reward them for their efforts by buying from
a company garden. On the roof. In
the yard. On the windowsill.
Going green is a challenge, and it
requires creativity. The hard truth is that we need to think differently. We
need to think about consuming less and conserving more, to think about working
together with others to protect this beautiful planet that we call home. But we
don’t have to just talk about it. We can do it, starting today, and always
remembering that reading a good book is an old-fashioned, excellent, and very
green way for people to entertain themselves while treading lightly on the
Amy Wachspress is the
author of The Call to
Shakabaz, a children’s and young adult fantasy adventure
featuring all black characters that demonstrates the fundamental principles of nonviolence.
She is also a grant writer who has raised over $70 million for initiatives that
benefit children, youth, and families in over 20 states. For more information