Since yesterday was the world environment day, we’ve decided to select a collection of publications dealing with environment and ecology – just to give you some ideas about what is available in the Calaméo library.
World Environment Day 2011
Let’s also take this opportunity to discuss the repercussions of reading from an environmental stand point. With all the recent evolutions, is it greener to choose online reading over traditional print?
You’d like to read the latest NY Times bestseller or your daily newspaper but you’re worried about its environmental cost… You’re right to be cautious: using trees to make paper and energy to print and distribute publications does indeed represent a loss for our planet. That’s why, some of you believe that reading online and choosing e-books in lieu of paperback ones is the most ecological option. But, if it’s the best way to save paper it might not be the best way to save the planet… We have to consider that computers, iPads and readers such as Kindles also have a carbon footprint.
Of course, at Calaméo we’re always encouraging you to choose online reading over traditional reading since we provide a great choice of free publications from all over the world… But there’s more to it than just that. Buying an actual book has a cost – not only financial but environmental. The average 360 pages printed book is said to be responsible for 8.85 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and even your daily newspaper has an impact. For instance, the Discover magazine estimates its printed version to produce 32.4 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other hand, Apple reports that its iPad releases 287 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifecycle. Meaning that you have to read at least 32.4 e-books with it to get to the point where it’s greener to read an e-book than a paperback one. Since the total carbon footprint is divided by the number of books you read on an iPad, you should use it to read as much as possible – especially since Calaméo is now available on iPads! Although, most of those who own an iPad still keep buying printed books and use their iPad for other things. So the carbon cost is twice what it could be.
Now, let’s pretend that the average adult reads about 10 books a year. If one swapped half of these for online publications, it would save more than 44 pounds of greenhouse gas emission for each individual. If everybody who owned a computer or a reader would proceed this way, this would save a considerable number of trees and help maintain the ozone layer.
Think about it: what would happen if you replaced your printed readings by their online equivalent? If you managed to change paper for electronic (since most of you already own a digital reading enabled device), wouldn’t you be able to lower your carbon footprint drastically? How many books and magazines would that represent every year? Do you think it could make a difference?
If you want to learn more, Eco-Libris offers a useful selection of links on the subject. Don’t forget either to have a look at The Green Press Initiative publication: Environmental Impacts of e-books.