Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter Gets Greener

One of my environmental pet peeves? When someone is described as "going green" for taking only a small environmental step, as if installing compact fluorescent bulbs or planting trees or getting 5% of your power from renewable energy makes you The Lorax or something.

So while I don't think the following qualifies Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as green, the National Wildlife Federation points out it's a step in the right direction:

After hearing from outraged citizens across the country when they didn't publish book six of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter on recycled paper, Scholastic has changed its ways! For the first printing of book seven, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...

* 65 percent of the paper used will have the
Forest Stewardship Council stamp of approval -- meaning it comes from forestlands that are managed in an environmentally responsible way. Certification assures that much of the paper for this book is not harming the birds and other wildlife dependent upon Canada's intact Boreal Forest--a critical shield against global warming.

* 30 percent of the paper will be made out of recycled content -- another big step forward in the book publishing business!

E Magazine breaks down exactly what that means:

This monstrous paper order of 16,700 tons will do a lot more than may initially meet the eye. By switching to 30 percent recycled paper, just the English-language editions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows alone will save: 197,685 trees, an area 2.5 times the size of New York’s Central Park, or a whole lot of Whomping Willows in Hogwarts terms; 72,074,421 gallons of water, enough to fill 218 Olympic sized pools or make 6.3 trillion batches of Polyjuice Potion; 17,364,063 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to taking 1,577 cars off the road for a year or stopping 8,420 dragon burps; 9,255,366 pounds of solid waste, which is the weight of 4,999 full-grown elephants or 2,364 fully-grown dragons like Norbert; 137,609 million BTUs of electricity, enough energy to power 1,512 homes for a year and equivalent to the energy in 154 million lightning bolts. (Source: Markets Initiative, using the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator.)

You can thank Potter's publisher here. But you should also encourage them to go even further. 100,000 copies of the deluxe edition will be printed on 100 percent recycled paper. Why not every book? And why not print the book using soy-based ink?

Now that would be environmental wizardry. Oh, come on, you didn't think I'd go a whole blog post about Harry Potter without some cheesy magic reference, did you?


Anonymous said...

TreeHugger makes some great points on this issue:


Hank Green notes that "only 65% of the pulp used in HP7 (American edition) is certified ancient-forest friendly." So 130,000 trees have been saved but how many have been chopped because of Scholastic's intransigence?

That 35% of a doorstop the size and print run of the American Harry Potter probably represents more trees lost than any other book published in the States this year. Hank says "Scholastic is being fairly backward and profit-driven here. How much cash do they really need to haul here. Honestly, they could pass the cost onto the consumer and absolutely no one would mind."

It is surprising that smart American green websites would fall for this international averaging out of Scholastic's boreal clearcut.

Anonymous said...

You should reconsider your judgmental "pet peeve" and recognize that changes aren't going to happen overnight. Whether or not scholastic could do more, this is the step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

miles reads potter? yet another surprisingly nice attribute:)