Publishing now, at the beginning of the 21st century, is inextricably linked with the future health of the planet and all its inhabitants. Public concern about the environmental impact of conventional publishing is a strong force. It is influencing many companies to opt for “greener” practices. Traditional printing not only fells trees, it also disturbs wildlife, creates pollution, uses up natural resources, and produces large amounts of waste material. Fortunately, new technologies are changing the face of printing. These new technologies reduce carbon emissions by eliminating paper, but they do not achieve “carbon neutral” status through that alone. It takes more than switching away from paper to bring a carbon footprint to zero.
Many negative environmental effects occur as a result of printing magazines, newspapers, books, and other paper materials. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the carbon footprint of these materials. Tyson Miller, of the Green Press Initiative suggests that in addition to reducing paper use, all readers and printers should Maximize recycled content in papers, especially post-consumer recycled material. Look for the following words on any paper product: Processed Chlorine Free (PCF), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). But, these practices may not be enough to mitigate the damage.
More changes must all be made at a time when even the definition of publishing itself is transforming. Printed text is in more demand, and in more variable formats, than at any time in history. Both paper and electronic print can be produced and accessed faster than ever. Even the daily newspaper, which used to be the fastest source of printed information, is slow in comparison to the wide range of electronic resources available at every consumer’s fingertips. Fortunately, these changes open up new avenues for green publishing. One way to reduce the negative impact of traditional hardcopy printing is to explore all the options offered by publishing through electronic means.
New technologies offer everything from online eBook self-publishing to book distribution on personal readers like the Kindle. Truly responsible green publishing companies acknowledge the carbon emissions created by all the power they use. One company’s website declares “We completely offset all our CO2 emissions by donating money to Carbon Clear, a leading carbon management company. They invest in projects that improve living standards in developing countries and which provide global climate benefits with clean energy projects and reforestation initiatives”. All Yudu publications carry a carbon neutral stamp.
Martin Alan enjoys writing on subjects such as literature, online publishing, digital magazines, carbon neutral publishing, publishing software, file sharing sites and self publishing. He also enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in technology and online marketing.
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