By now, we hope that all of you have watched the powerful climate change documentary Before the Flood that followed Leonardo DiCaprio as he took us around the world to meet with scientists and learn about how far we have pushed the earth to the brink.
Climate change is a dark cloud that looms over our future. Now, more than ever, we are demanding that corporations and politicians take action. It’s up to us to protect our common home. There are some actionable ways that your love of reading can help the environment right now.
It doesn’t take an education in science to understand that your well-loved hobbies are made of trees. Trees that once lived in verdant forests and were part of an ecosystem. The paper industry accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Trees that once captured carbon and gave us clean air are now damaging the environment.
How do you reconcile a love of books with a love of the environment? We have a quick list of 5 ways you can help the environment today. Share with your friends and start a green reading movement!
1. Avoid Buying Brand New
Always avoid buying brand new products because they take the biggest toll on the environment.
I know it’s tempting. There’s a book you want to get and you know you can get one at the big box store. Our advice is to wait until you get a chance to find one secondhand. Browse local selling sites, visit a used book shop, and scavenge through your neighborhood thrift store to try to find a copy.
Your last line of questioning is to ask friends and family if they have a copy kicking around. This can help you save serious money from buying new books. You are also helping to save the environment by producing less waste.
2. If You Use An E-Reader, Use It Up!
Do you know someone who upgrades their phone every few months if it goes out of style, even when their “old” one still works? Don’t be that person. If you have electronics like tablets and e-readers, use them! Use them right up. Read them until you wear away at their brief window of life. Resist the urge to upgrade to “newer” and “better” electronics. Yours is not that different from the new model. It’s a marketing ploy and a cash grab.
Remember that a huge amount of resources go into the products we buy. When you buy a new electronic device, you’re buying all the plastics and chemicals that went into its production. You’re buying all the gasoline that it took to ship from Asia to a warehouse and into your hands. So use your ereader until it’s breathed its last electronic breath.
3. Buy Environmentally Friendly Books
Most books are printed with bleached paper and toxic ink. They are processed with unnecessary chemicals that are hazardous for the environment. Whenever possible, support publications that use recycled paper and soy ink in their books. You have the power to pressure the publishing industry to go green!
4. Shop Small And Local Or Go To The Library
Those big box stores tend to stock more books than they actually ever sell. That means they waste resources shipping books back and forth from their warehouses. For these reasons, small and local shops tend to have a smaller carbon footprint.
Finally, you need to go to the library for a change. You don’t have any excuses at this point. By sharing a book with other readers, you all are contributing to a greener environment.
5. Share The Love
Should you decide to part with a book in the future, try to share the love! Resell or give away your old textbooks and reading materials. Bring a box of books you haven’t touched all year to a secondhand store or thrift store.
That being said, be sure to take care of your books. Don’t drop it in the bathtub or dog-ear your novels. It makes it harder for the next person to enjoy your pre-loved book.
Thanks for reading our list of ways to love books and share that love with the environment! Check out the video below to watch the climate change documentary, Before The Flood.
Happy Green Reading!
YouTube Channel: National Geographic
Featured image via Thing Link