Enlightened Literature: A Quest for Greener Books

Searching for the next best book? Try a green-printed book.

| March/April 2004

  • Authors (from left) Fritjof Capra, Alice Walker, and Julia Butterfly Hill support the Green Press Initiative.

Book publishing gobbles up 20 million trees a year. Fortunately, a conscientious cast of authors, publishers, and printers has banded together to seek alternative paper sources.


Two nonprofit programs, Green Press Initiative (United States) and Markets Initiative (Canada), are working to increase the number of books printed on post-consumer recycled paper that’s free of fiber from old-growth forests and chlorine bleach.


Authors behind the project include Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Walker, Margaret Atwood, Paul Hawken, Fritjof Capra, Julia Butterfly Hill, Winona LaDuke, and Andrew Weil. The Canadian edition of J.K. Rowling’s hefty bestseller Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Raincoast Books, 2003) was printed on recycled paper. About 120 North American publishers, including New Society, Island Press, Chelsea Green, Gibbs Smith and Cornell University, are committed to the tree-saving initiatives.


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