Kate Douglas kindly notified me that today is Blog Action Day, a day when as many blogs as possible will be writing and talking about the environment in their own way. My plan is not to talk on a grand scale about the environment, but to talk about those things that we can do and maybe should be doing in an industry that cuts down so many trees. Okay, we don’t actually cut down trees, but we do use a whole lot of paper.
BookEnds has already made some strides this year in going green by changing our submission policy, but is there more we can do? Yes. I’ll admit it. I have a really bad habit of not turning off all of my machines before I leave the office for the day. So I’m making a sign. A nice, pretty sign that reminds me to not just shut down everything and turn off the printer, etc., but to flip the switch at the source. I’m going to shut down the entire surge protector at the end of each day. It’s so easy, so simple, and yes, it will save energy. I’ve also been gradually changing to energy-saving lightbulbs. You know. Those lovely fluorescents. While they don’t do much for my skin tone they are saving the world one step at a time, and heck, they save me money too. What a bonus!
But back to that paper. Is there more we can do? I think the publishing world as a whole could make more of an effort to green up. In other words, more editing can and should be done on the computer, if possible. Some houses do this already—all of the Dummies and Idiot’s Guides are edited onscreen. But that’s it. Almost everyone else still uses the old-fashioned manuscript, and you know what? I don’t blame them. It’s going to be a hard change to make for everyone because, honestly, I read things differently onscreen and definitely catch more things when it’s written on paper. Recycling helps. Most publishers actively recycle paper (and we do too of course), but using recycled paper in books would help a lot.
I think that major strides toward saving the environment can be done if we all start small. So my call to you is let’s start simply by turning off our machines. Make sure your computer goes to sleep when you’re away and make sure everything is shut down when you’re not there at all. Once we have that mastered we can all try to figure out how we can save more paper.