I’m a bit of an environmentalist. Always have been. I recycle everything I possibly can. I thought curbside recycling was the coolest thing ever when we moved to the Pacific Northwest when I was a kid. I hate throwing away things that can be recycled. What I can I donate (or Freecycle) rather than throw things away. I try to use reusable containers, refillable pens, rechargeable batteries, cloth napkins, etc. I take my travel coffee mug everywhere, along with my well-used (and abused) Nalgene bottles. I try to buy local produce (so easy when the grocery stores here carry New Jersey produce all the time and there’s farmers markets all over the city). I commute by bike and try to use public transportation whenever possible (my car doesn’t move sometimes for weeks at a time). I don’t profess to go as far as No Impact Man (wow! that’s extreme), but I do try. I choose to do these things, and everyone has to make their own choices (in other words, you are free to make your own decisions about such things and it’s not my place to judge your choices).
But there are some things I can’t get away from and aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. I love books. I always have. I could never switch completely to an electronic book reader, I need to hold the nice paper book. It’s as much about the tactile experience of the book as it is the reading (I’ve discussed my love of reading before). Yes, I use the library all the time, but there are some books I desire to own. And then there’s the books I read for classes (both for my BA and the in-process MA in Spanish) and other various textbooks. I can’t give up my books. Yes, I buy used (some of you know my love of Powell’s Books and feel the same), but sometimes that’s just not possible.
Today I saw a post on a blog (my apologies for the lack of a reference, if I could remember where I’d tell you) about a great and relatively new idea. It’s a group called Eco-Libris: Plant a Tree for Every Book You Read. I absolutely love love love this!! It’s brilliant. And it’s so very cool. And it’s affordable. For each book you donate only one dollar, and they work with their “planting partners” around the world to plant a tree. This is somethings I can support whole-heartedly. It blends perfectly my love of reading and books with the environmentalist in me.
Those of you that get books as gifts from me, you can pretty much guarantee that from now on all your books will arrive with a pretty little sticker that says “One tree was planted for this book” (made from recycled paper and non-toxic ink, of course).
Now I need to go home and count all my books so I can balance out all the books in my life with new trees…I’m definitely going to have to save up some money for this one (says the woman with never enough bookshelves).