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Hedes & Dekes: Reading for the Environment

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Maybe Earth Day made you feel a little guilty, like you needed to get your life together if at least for the next couple weeks. So how can you apply your new green lifestyle to your reading habits? Recently Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy and Harvard professor Gregory Norris wrote an article for The New York Times comparing the environmental friendliness of the new, hip e-readers to the traditional book, made from recycled paper.

The analysis of the two was very detailed including the environmental cost of each from production to decomposition.

From the beginning it looked like books were winning, until you consider the gas emissions it would take to drive a hypothetical five miles to the bookstore and the time it would take for a book to decompose in a landfill.

But before you burn your old paperbacks and buy a Kindle, the article also mentioned that if not recycled properly these e-readers could be disassembled by workers, sometimes children, exposing them to hazardous chemicals.

In the end, Golemean and Norris said neither was all that great. The best way to read green is, simply, to walk to your local library and check out a book.

–Veronica Wells

Photo: bjh photography


Written by whitney teal

April 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

Posted in Hedes and Dekes

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One Response

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  1. I know ebooks have their place but I just can’t get past the satisfaction of holding a paper book in my hands and physically turning the pages. I guess that would be the one area where I can’t be as green as I’d like.


    April 30, 2010 at 9:05 am

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