Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Sunday Salon... Readers celebrate The Tree with The Green Book reading challenge, Balancing Out Your Books, and The Tree Museum

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

In Connecticut the weather is a little crisper, the trees are losing their crimson leaves, and we are readying our wood stoves for the colder weather... It's a beautiful time of year, the air seems fresher, the sound of the rustling leaves under your feet is the special music of Fall, and the deer and birds seem to spend more time visiting us... I saw an interesting campaign that will take place this Tuesday Nov. 10th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. It's the 100 Green Books Campaign. Organized by Eco-Libris, this campaign is aiming to promote “green” books by reviewing more than 100 books printed on recycled paper or FSC-certified paper. Over 100 bloggers will take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of more than 100 such books. I read about this reading challenge too late to join in, but thought as I was enjoying the fall weather and the beauty of my surroundings, that I would take a moment (and today's Sunday Salon) to share with you what Eco-Libris is all about... along with a few other "green" tree related sites and a fun "tree" exhibition going on in New York...

Eco-Libris believes in providing people with easy and affordable ways to take responsibility for their actions and go green. They don’t believe in preaching doom and gloom. It’s not their style. They believe in taking action and in the power of small changes to make a big impact... "Once upon a time there was Ex-Libris (a Latin phrase meaning ‘from the books’), a label people used to paste on their books to indicate ownership. We see Eco-Libris as the new, green version of Ex-Libris. In our vision people will balance out their books by planting trees and will indicate their commitment to sustainability by putting an Eco-Libris sticker on the sleeves of these books. As people once showed their love for books with Ex-Libris, we hope to see people show their love for books and the environment with Eco-Libris."

Reading about the reading challenge and the organization Eco-Libris made me think about my reading habits and the trees that are used to feed that habit. Eco-Libris states on their website that "More than 30 Million trees are cut down annually for virgin paper used for the production of books sold in the U.S. alone." Their sensible approach is to encourage the use of recycled paper or virgin paper from certified forests, and planting trees to help sustain the sources we use when we read. I know I'm not going to stop reading books and I have a Kindle which you'd think would help the environment, although there's some debate about the Kindle and its actual "carbon footprint"... another story for another time (here's a LINK to some of that debate), but I can do some simple things to be a little greener... one of which is sponsor the planting of trees...

A program Eco-Libris is promoting is Balance Out Your Books, where you make a donation to have a tree planted for every book you read. Eco-Libris has 3 planting partners that are non-profit organizations working in developing countries where deforestation is a crucial problem. They have partnered with various publishers, bookstores, and are promoting this with book clubs as well. If you are a member of Book Mooch, which is a book swapping community, they have a program called Green Mooch, a special incentive to BookMoochers to balance out their books, and to Eco-Libris fans to start mooching some books. You can read more about Green Mooch HERE, and you can learn all about Book Mooch there too!

There are other ways to plant a tree too! The Arbor Day Foundation has a tree planting program. With membership, which is $10 or $15, you can get 10 free trees that will grow well in your area, or 10 trees will be planted in your honor in a U.S. National Forest. Plant a tree in Israel. Since 1901 there have been over 240 million trees planted in Israel. You can have a tree planted in honor of anyone by going HERE. Or you can simply plant your own tree! Here is a list of 29 reasons to plant a tree from Treelink.org too!

Want to just celebrate the tree? As readers we love trees, right?! Katie Holten created the TREE MUSEUM to celebrate the communities and ecosystems along the Grand Concourse, a 100 year-old boulevard in The Bronx. Visitors can listen in on local stories and the intimate lives of trees offered by current and former residents: from beekeepers to rappers, historians to gardeners, school kids to scientists. She has marked out 100 diverse trees along the Concourse, which is about four and a half miles long. Each one will have a sign that gives a phone number and a code to listen to short recordings of people speaking about the Bronx, their lives and their work. The tree museum opened on June 21st of this year and will be around until Jan.3rd, 2010. Of course after the signs are taken down, the trees will still be there! Here is a google map of where all 100 Trees are located. And here's a link to a great article in the New York Times about the "Museum of Trees".

Hope you found something interesting here today! Let me know how you feel about being "green"! Do you do anything to help the environment? Do you think about the trees that are cut down to make the paper our books are made of? Do you think it matters? And are there any New Yorkers out there that have walked the Tree Museum? I'd love to hear about that!

Happy reading...
Suzanne

2 comments:

debnance said...

I like the ideas of Eco-Libris. I should plant some trees. I shudder to think about all the trees that have been sacrificed for my reading habits.

Suzanne said...

Hi Deb!
Yes, I really can't afford to buy a tree for all the books I've bought, but I did make a small contribution to help. :D Before I read about the green books challenge I really didn't know much about the use of recycled papers for books, but it's interesting to discover.

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