Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games and green reading

"The Hunger Games" had a record box office opening, taking in $155 million in U.S. ticket sales over the last weekend and setting up what promises to be one of the biggest film franchises of this decade. The movie is based on the book The Hunger Games, the first novel in the Hunger Games trilogy written by Susan Collins.

The success of the movie
helps boost the sales of the trilogy and Scholastic, the publisher of the Hunger Games Trilogy announced on Wednesday that there were 36.5 million copies of the bestselling trilogy in print, a 55 percent jump from the 23.5 million copies in print at the start of 2012.

Why I'm telling you all of this? Because I believe The Hunger Games phenomenon provides some important and valuable lessons for everyone who is interested in making books greener.

Let's start with a fact: According to Lisa Serra, Director of Paper Procurement at Scholastic, the hardcover copies
of the three books in the series (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody-certified text stock containing 20 percent post-consumer fiber (source: Joshua Martin, Environmental Paper Network Director).

Now, let's move on to three assumptions:

1. If you are interested in reading one of the Hunger Games, most chances are that you don't find it too important what paper it is printed on - you won't look for another book if you will find out the trilogy is printed on 100 percent virgin paper, just like you won't buy it only because it's printed on 20 percent FSC-certified paper or even if it's 100 percent recycled paper. In other words: The sustainability level of the paper will not be a factor in your decision. Most chances are that you probably won't even think about it.

2. Those readers who will be concerned with the issue of the paper might consider reading the Hunger Games electronic version - the e-book costs just like the paperback ($5) and no paper is used at all. Couldn't it get any greener than that?

3. Scholastic probably knows that the fact it is using 20 percent FSC-certified paper doesn't really make a difference for the majority of readers. Most of them probably are not even aware to the fact that Scholastic is making this effort, or to the fact that after making significant progress toward its original targets for 2012, Scholastic decided to increase its 2012 goal from 30% FSC-certified paper to 35%.

As we already know a book is a unique product - it's not like toothpaste or a cleaning product where customers can switch to a competing product that is more sustainable and provide them a better value. If they want a certain book, they will just get it and there's no better example right now than the Hunger Games. Just think about yourself - would you avoid purchasing the Hunger Games just because it's printed on 80 percent virgin paper? Probably not.

You might be considering reading it on an e-reader or even going to the library to get a copy or e-copy of the book, but you certainly won't give it up for 'green' reasons per se.

So what lessons can we learn from the example of the Hunger Games and what actions can we take to apply them?

1. Readers will not be the drivers of change when it comes to printing books on a more sustainable paper (i.e. FSC-certified or recycled paper). Nevertheless, it is important to keep educating them about the impacts of paper, so even if it won't be a substantial factor in their decision making, they will still be aware of it.

2. Readers are moving to e-reading and many of them believe it is also a greener alternative since no paper is involved. It is important to make sure readers will know it's not always the case and be aware that e-reading also has its own footprint. It's also important to encourage readers to demand companies like Amazon to disclose the environmental impacts of the e-readers they sell.

3. Although readers might not be a major driver for change, publishers should make efforts to inform them on their efforts to green up their operations, especially when there is what to report on. Scholastic, for example, should try to make sure every reader of the Hunger Games in its paper version would know that the book is printed using 20 percent FSC-certified paper.

4. Publishers should think of their efforts to make their books more sustainable in terms of stakeholder engagement. Right now it looks like their best shot to generate both tangible and intangible rewards out of these efforts. Just think about the RAN campaign against publishers printing on linked to Indonesian rainforest destruction (Scholastic by the way was among RAN's recommended publishers) or the trouble Gibson Guitars got into when they were accused in violating the Lacey Act, and you can see how stakeholder engagement provide a great monetary incentive to shift to FSC-certified any recycled paper.

5. We still don't have the best answers to the question how to make reading more sustainable - technology provides hope and stakeholder engagement provide incentives, but it's still not enough to drive a change fast enough. Trees are still been cut in an unsustainable way and we know it can be avoided. We just need to keep figuring out how. Any ideas?

Please feel free to share add your comments and thoughts!


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our planting partner RIPPLE Africa presents the Kandoli Forest Conservation Project in Malawi

Our friends at RIPPLE Africa, an organization that is working in Malawi and is also a planting partner of Eco-Libris have just released a very interesting video on their efforts to conserve 130 square kilometers of forest in the Kandoli Hills in northern Nkhata Bay District, Malawi.

We invite you to watch the video and learn about the important work RIPPLE Africa is doing in Malawi in collaboration with local communities, generating substantial environmental and social benefits.

To learn more about RIPPLE Africa please visit their website -

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How green is your iPad? Should you still check it with Mike Daisey?

This was a good week for Apple. The company announced that
it has sold three million of its new iPad, and Mike Daisey, one of the people who became a major critical voice against Apple was caught lying to the radio show This American Life about his investigative trip to China.

I wrote yesterday on Triple Pundit about the latest findings about Daisey and what we can learn from this story. Here's the first paragraph of the article (Does It Matter if Mike Daisey Lied to This American Life about Apple in China?):

Ira Glass, the host of This American Life (TAL) had unpleasant news for his listeners last Friday. He has found out that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China, which TAL broadcast in January, contained significant fabrications. “We can’t vouch for its truth and therefore we’re retracting the story,” Glass said. This was certainly a humiliating moment for Glass and his show’s staff that pride on their high standards of journalism. The news is especially painful, given that this story was one of their most popular with over a million people downloading and streaming it to date. Add to that the role this show had in creating a tipping point in the public’s attitude towards Apple’s practices and you can understand why Glass is so sorry for having Daisey on his show in the first place.

Bottom line: the social dimension of the manufacturing phase of the iPad, as well as other products of Apple (and also the Kindle by the way) still seem far from being sustainable or even satisfactory, no matter if Daisey is accurate in 100 percent or not. In any event, it's recommended to wait for the completion of the audit made now by the FLA, which hopefully will provide us with an objective analysis about the situation at Foxconn.

Links to other articles I wrote for Triple Pundit can be found at

More resources on how green is the iPad can be found on our website at

A children’s bookstore is looking for funding on Kickstarter

GalleyCat reported last week on an interesting funding effort on Kickstarter - this time it's a children's bookstore. According to the report, children’s books illustrator Richard Christie is looking to raise $22,750 on Kickstarter to makeover his children’s bookstore, Gas-Art Gifts. The term “gas” is an acronym for “Gregarious Art Statements.”

So far Richard has $3,470 in pledges from 61 backers with 10 more days to go. It means that he still needs to raise $19,280 to meet his goal, or he won't receive any of this money. Here's a further description of his project followed by the video he put on Kickstarter:

We come to kickstarter because this children's and young teens' book store, needs a new look. this is an opportunity for you to make children's literacy as valued as the newest pair of sneakers. We desire a trendy looking store that puts literature along with tangible- handmade art on sleek pedestals and modern shelves.

With your support we can bring a passion for history and culture to teens and parents who may have never thought about these things.

The store will feature autographed children's books and handmade products at a reasonable price. Additionally the mall's management is fine with bringing in creative friends to do weekend long intensive workshops. It would be a fulfillment of a dream for us to teach the community to stop buying back their own culture from corporations. Most of the expensive items they wait in a line for, can easily be made or personalized with their own creativity. I miss the days when kids would buy a brand, then paint it, tear it, sew it and redesign it in to their own expression.

Workshops teaching book-binding,painting,t-shirt production,silk screening, even computer and cell phone cover design painting will be offered. I will have something to teach any aspiring art student or curious craft enthusiast.

You can check it out at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Greenwashing the Lorax? Check my article on Triple Pundit about the use of the Lorax for commercial purposes

Here's an update on an article I published today on Triple Pundit on what looks to be a cynical use by corporations of a great children's book with an environmental message: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. It deals with the 70 sponsorships the Lorax movie has and focuses especially on the use Mazda is doing of the Lorax to promote its new SUV.

The article is entitled 'Lorax Tie-ins Go Overboard: Is it Greenwashing?'. Here's the first part of the article:

41 years after Dr. Seuss wrote this story, the Lorax is back, this time on the big screen as an animated 3-D musical comedy film. The movie is already a big hit, grossing more than $125 million in its first two weeks. According to Box Office Mojo, this is the second best opening for a movie concerned with environmental issues after Avatar. Yet, as some critics would claim, it should not be considered a “green” movie at all, given its massive use for commercial purposes.

To read the full article go to

Links to other articles I wrote for Triple Pundit can be found at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

100 green apps - VeganYumYum Mobile

We are creating a list of the top 100 apps that will help you go green as part of our effort to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. Apps become an integral part of our life and a valuable tool and we believe we should also take advantage of them when it comes go greening up our life.

Every week we bring you a ne
w app from the 100 green apps list, and today we're happy to introduce an app with great vegan recipes.

Our app is VeganYumYum Mobile from VeganYumYum. This app is for iPhone and iPad and is free.

Here are more details about
VeganYumYum App:

VeganYumYum Mobile lets you search, view, and organize all your favorite recipes from the award-winning food blog,

Here you can see VeganYumYum on Martha Stewart:

You can check top 100 green apps at As you'll see, this list is in work, but we promise to update it every week until we'll have all 100 green apps.

Last week's green app - inBloom.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Friday, March 9, 2012

How green is the New iPad?

The New iPad was revealed this week by Apple and as always made a lot of buzz. So much was written about each and every specification of the new iPad model and it looks like the perfect timing to ask the question that is most important to us - how green or eco-friendly the New iPad is?

Exactly one year ago (March 9, 2011) I asked the same question about the iPad 2 in an article on TriplePundit entitled 'How Green is the iPad 2?'. I developed there a model based on 3 criteria that was supposed to help figuring out. Here's a reminder of this model:

An upgraded device could be valued as a green upgrade if it meets the following three requirements:

1. It includes at least five significant improvements to the previous model.

2. It improves the environmental and social impacts of the previous model by at least 20%.

3. The company releasing the new model sets up a goal of reusing or recycling at least 95% of the old models when replaced with the new model.

Now, let's see if the New iPad meet these criteria:

1. 5 significant improvements comparing to the previous model

Let's look at a comparison that was published on Huffington Post between the New iPad and iPad 2 (you can click on the infographic to see it in full size):

So what do we have here? Better resolution, better storage capacity, and that's it. So maximum of 2 improvements you call significant. Bottom line: Apple doesn't meet the first criteria.

2. At least 20% improvement in the environmental and social impacts of the previous model

We still need to wait and see as Apple didn't publish yet the carbon footprint of the New iPad. My guestimation is that the improvement in the carbon footprint will be in the range of 10-20 percent, but again, we'll have to wait and see. With regards to the social footprint, I guess any new improvements that will come out as a result of the Fair Labor Association's audit will be implemented in the manufacturing lines of all the iPad models so the New iPad doesn't really change anything.

Bottom line: the jury is still out.

3. Setting up a goal by Apple of reusing or recycling at least 95% of the old models when replaced with the new model.

Apple hasn't said anything about such a goal and it's quite clear this issue is not on its agenda, at least not the New iPad release's agenda.

Bottom line: Apple does not meet this criteria.

As you can see of the three criteria, Apple might be able to meet one at best. Therefore we can conclude that while the New iPad might be pretty, worth the money and even cool, it is certainly not green. Hopefully with the next iPad (iPad 4?), Apple will do a better job when it comes to makes its devices more sustainable.

For more information on how green is the iPad visit our iPad webpage at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Recommended book on Kickstarter: Yeti Leaves Home

Kickstarter is a great place to fund interesting new products and projects, including books. Great books. So we decided we want to help spread the word on book projects we like on Kickstarter and every weekend we'll share one with you.

Today's Kickstarter book is Yeti Leaves Home, a children's book on a Yeti leaving home by by Jennifer Campbell & Troy Harris.

Goal: $5,000

Pledged so far: $1,227 (32 backers)

Still missing: $3,773

Days left: 28 days (until April 1)

Here's a description of the project:

What’s the project low-down?

Yeti Leaves Home” is a self-published, hand-illustrated storybook. It is a book for kids, adult versions of kids, and parents to read to their kids.

At some point in our lives, the place and people we grew up with are not ours to call home anymore. “Yeti Leaves Home” tells the tale of one young Yeti's travels, as he sets out to make a new home for himself. The book also relates to those moments in children’s lives when the act of growing up requires their independence and confidence. Join Yeti through his many trials and triumphs and share the joy of all the friends he meets along the way. Will Yeti find a place to call his own?

Why do you need my pledge?

Donations for this project will be put towards the printing costs of the book. $4000 of the Kickstarter funds raised will go towards a beautiful, full-color, hardbound, square format book printed on high-quality matte paper. The remainder of the budget will go towards production, packaging and shipping of the rewards to our supporters!

The Story So Far

The book is halfway done! The original illustrations from the book will be exhibited at Practical Art Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona for the month of May. It is our goal to have the book printed in time for the opening reception on Friday May 11th 2012.

Last week's Kickstarter recommendation - Ballad of a Bottom Feeder- A love story

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!