In a very interesting article, Don Carli, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Communication, observes: “the printing industry and forestry professionals maintain that sustainably harvested timber used for papermaking is not contributing to deforestation, but they have done a terrible job of influencing public perception in their favor. On the other hand, proponents of digital media as well as a number of strident environmental groups have done an effective job of depicting print media as a major cause of deforestation, despite the fact that hamburgers, condominiums and mountaintop coal removal cause significantly more deforestation than print media.”
He goes on claiming that the challenge for the printing industry is not ‘fighting back’. Rather, “its challenge is to fight for a future for print and digital media becoming radically cleaner, greener and more socially responsible within a decade. The printing industry needs to find common issues and synergies with the proponents of digital media and coal-based energy that we can fight for together. Consumers are too much in love with digital media and too dependent on coal to cast them aside and kick them to the gutter.”
How sustainable is print media versus its online pendant? A tricky question. If you look at the broader definition of sustainability, taking into account its social justice part, then print media (the newspaper around the corner) might be more sustainable, as it allows access to news and opinion to everybody. It does not exclude those who cannot afford to buy computers and other technological devices. Another issue is our dwindling ability to focus on a specific article and maintain attention – mainly caused by the information overflow online media offers. Reading online means a constant scanning, searching, clicking on links, navigating horizontally, vertically, reading comments, twittering and rating …
What is your opinion on this?
Picture credit: Daniel R. Blume