But I can't pretend I didn't feel some sense of smugness upon reading two recent articles, which in different ways, dispel the notion that digital is greener. Maybe books are printed up on dead trees, but how do you think that laptop/iphone/tablet runs?
Don Carli's article over at MediaShift takes this question right on, opening with all the things we hear - "please don't print this email if you don't need to" - and then asking the tough questions:
What's implied is that digital media is the environmentally preferable choice and that print media is the environmentally destructive choice. But is it possible that digital media could be more destructive to the environment and a greater threat to trees, bees, rivers and forests in the United States than paper-making or printing?
Yikes, right? It seems our magically paperless offices are not any greener for it. From the energy needed to run and store all this media - hello coal, mountaintop removal - to the metal and plastic needed to manufacture the products, digital media can be deadly for the environment.
Then tonight, I find Dave Gilson's article from Mother Jones with the oh-shit headline, "The Scary Truth About Your iPhone." Very Dateline, and I generally object to such scare tactics. But Gilson reveals plenty of facts about the now ubiquitous devices that are, in fact, already being used as readers for books.
I think I'll spend this weekend on the Cape shopping at one of my favorite used bookstores (Isiah Thomas Books in Cotuit) and feeling good about reusing a paper product.