Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Lynn Fang of Upcycled Love.
Writing can often seem to transcend earthly boundaries. A writer’s purpose is to convey her inner realm to her reader–philosophical insights dressed in snapshots of sights, sounds, and smells.
But the words themselves are physical–they are spoken, written from pen-to-paper, or finger-to-keyboard. Words cannot transcend earthly boundaries. Notebooks are filled with ink and computers with document data. Books are printed, e-book readers are manufactured, and readers can choose to toss them, give them away, or keep them forevermore.
There are many resources needed to make paper: people, water, trees, air, machinery, and landfills. The paper industry has a history of pollution. It is guilty of deforestation, high water consumption, wastewater contamination, air pollution, and overflowing our landfills with a byproduct called sludge. Computers and e-book readers are not much better: they contribute to ecosystem degradation through hard rock mining of precious metals, and the exploitation of human labor through feeble safety precautions. Printer ink emits particles of questionable toxicity and all writing pens depend on petroleum for plastic.
In honor of Earth Day, let’s engage our awareness of the physical resources needed to weave words into books. What can writers do to reduce their ecological impact?
7 Easy Ways Writers Can Honor The Earth
1. Buy recycled or “tree-free” paper:
2. Or, if you’re a crafty type, recycle your own paper! Here’s a great tutorial on how it’s done.
3. Don’t print, if possible. If you must, print on double-sided recycled paper.
4. Recycle your printer ink and buy recycled cartridges.
5. Don’t buy new books, if possible. Instead, buy used ones or join a “bookswap”:
- Your local library is an amazing resource. Use it.
- Check out local used bookstores.
- Try Abebooks.com for a vast selection of used books
- Try PaperbackSwap.com for an online bookswap.
- Start your own bookswap with family, friends, or other writers.
6. If you like writing pen-to-paper, consider buying eco-friendly pens made from recycled wood and plastic.
7. If you’re looking to buy a new laptop, consider one that’s more eco-conscious. Ethical Consumer has a buying guide for eco-friendly laptops.
As a writer, what do you do (or what can you do) to honor the earth today?
Happy Earth Day Everyone!
Lynn Fang is an eco-conscious writer who seeks to uncover humankind’s biological role in the natural world. She writes about conscious living, sustainability, and social change at Upcycled Love. Follow her on Twitter.
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