Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How easy is it being green?

Energy is in the news these days, so perhaps some of us can share ideas about the changes we’re making as we try to live more sustainably as authors, illustrators, readers, and citizens of this planet. I’ve previously posted about whether paper or electronic books are the greenest. What about other practices, whether easy or a little more complex?

Keeping it Digital
I haven’t printed out a photograph in ages; send PDFs to editors so manuscripts or book dummies don’t have to be printed out; compile lists and reference material such as images on the computer.

One habit that’s been hard to break is festooning my desk and monitor with sticky notes that build up like barnacles. There is a widget on my new Mac that allows me to post virtual notes on a special alternate desktop (forget what it’s called). But alas, the paper ones are so tempting....

Other Office Tips
Recycle ink cartridges; use rechargable batteries; properly recycle or dispose of e-waste; combining errands; use recycled paper; reuse paper printed on only one side (great for running declog cycles on my printer!); save oddball non-recyclable items such as plastic lids, scrap mat boards, and anything else usable as part of an art project to give to schools, Scout groups,etc.

One thing to be happy about is that as a freelancer working at home for over two decades, I’ve avoided using a pretty large quantity of gasoline. Or buying a lot of dressy clothes and shoes... sweatpants last a long time! The Planet Green site has tips specifically for authors that address book production and other relevant topics. One interesting tidbit was the percentage of Americans who want to write a book... a survey came up with 81%, which would be about 250 million titles!

Writing about Green Issues
The first book of mine on an environmental topic was The Great Trash Bash, which tells the story of a town with too much garbage and how they tackle the problem together. The Shocking Truth about Energy (available Spring 2010) addresses the pros and cons of various forms of energy from fossil fuels to wind, solar, geothermal, and plant-based. There are also two spreads of energy-saving tips for kids and parents such as banishing energy “vampires” (e.g. adaptors).

But even books that aren’t primarily about an environmental topic may have room for some relevant connection. Have you seen ”green“ worked into a book in an agreeable way, or done so in your own writing?

Show Kids the Possibilities
How about inspiring a young person to consider a green career? This should be a growth area for years to come unless we somehow have chlorophyll genes directly inserted. We had a solar water heater installed on our roof about a year ago and it works extremely well.

Careers in Renewable Energy: Get a Green Energy Job
by Gregory McNamee
2008, 208 pages

Lists careers opportunities in energy, green building, and management as well as the education needed, schools with suitable programs, and web sites with job listings.

If you have some ideas that don’t usually show up on the usual green tip lists, please share it with us. TIA!

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