Authors have long been a driving force behind environmental consciousness (think Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold), using the power of words and the force of their convictions to broaden awareness and push for change.
As writers, you can get in on the action too! Here’s how…
10 Eco-friendly Practices for Writers
1. Feature environmental themes in your blog or creative writing (short stories, poems, etc.). Write about nature, ecology, conservation, activists who’ve made a difference, or even the butterfly that landed in your backyard.
2. Use your skills to write a compelling letter to local or federal government officials about specific environmental concerns, either in your community or nationwide. You have a special skill; use it for good!
3. Book yourself a writer’s retreat in the mountains, the deep woods—anywhere that will inspire the nature lover in you. (See our listing of conferences and events to get you started.) Or create your own writer’s retreat! Head to your favorite camping site, pitch a tent, rent a cabin, or simply spend the day at the park with a laptop or legal pad.
4. Buy a Nook or Kindle and download books to save paper…and trees.
5. Recycle those ink cartridges (www.freerecycling.com), buy recycled printer paper, and use environmentally friendly inks (www.BarefootPress.com). When possible, print on both sides of the paper.
6. Check out www.EthicalConsumer.org for eco-friendly laptops. Donate your outdated computer to technical schools or companies that refurbish and/or recycle the parts.
7. Submit your writing electronically, and send queries by email. Support online literary magazines and journals by submitting to them regularly and subscribing.
8. Research print magazines and journals that use recycled paper or promote eco-friendly practices, and submit your work to them.
9. If you’re a children’s author, celebrate Earth Day by joining the Authors for Earth Day coalition and take part in literacy programs in local schools to promote environmental awareness (www.authorsforearthday.org).
10. Submit to book publishers that help reduce our carbon footprint. For example, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing donates a percentage of sales to plant new trees, and Random House started upping their use of recycled paper to save trees and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
From recycling cans to switching to online bills, there are many ways we can be more “green.” And as writers, we can literally spread the environmental word and celebrate nature through our life’s work. We can also help the publishing industry limit its environmental impact by supporting eco-friendly practices and technology.
Happy Earth Day!