Over at Tor.com, novelist M M Buckner does a bit of soul searching regarding her reading pastime; if one tree makes 111 books, is the environmental sacrifice justifiable?
How long does it take you to read 111 books? What if you count magazines, newspapers, catalogs, photocopies , billing statements, Valentine cards to loved ones? Every year, one tree absorbs 26 pounds of carbon dioxide and exhales enough oxygen to keep four people alive. The UN says, to make up for all the trees we’ve killed in the last decade alone, we’d need to plant a forest the size of Peru. Only, Peru is just not into that.
So is buying a book a form of murder? When I leaf through the latest science fiction thriller, am I suffocating some future possible infant in the crib? Does reading make me a baby killer?
Her response is that the ebook revolution that’s currently gathering pace is the antidote to any such worries, and it comes with a side serving of “literary egalitarianism” – in other words, it activates a kind of Long Tail economics where more obscure titles become better business propositions, which is something that one would hope even the most die-hard climate skeptic can get behind. [image by ginnerobot]
Of course, if you’re still worried about atoning for your book habit, you could always reduce your footprint in some other way, like eating less meat…