For Clean Air and Forest Conservation

Apr 2011
My mother's womb, of course.
It is amazing how much I have learned about the environment these few months. Each human activity has its pros and cons regarding the environment. While almost everything we do hurts it in some way, shape or form, some methods are less destructive than others.

Take, for example, reading blogs. My favorite blogger's slogan is "Save a tree, read a blog." While reading online news, or any online activity reduces forest destruction, it increases energy use. I read Censored 2011 from Project Censored (which I highly, highly recommend) and I came across some very interesting information: internet use contributes a great deal to Western lifestyle's ecological footprint. Perpetual internet usage is causing more and more energy consumption; experts suggest a 10% increase per year. Not only that, but for-profit corporations (there is that big, ugly C word again) are building more and more server farms. Facebook even started building its first custom data center. While you can feel good about saving trees by reading a blog, you still have the shame of knowing you are contributing to climate change. Even as you are reading this post (which I hope you are enjoying), lots of energy is being used. I recommend surfing the web and/or doing other online work for no more than 2.5 hours a day.

Regarding forest conservation, probably the most sustainable method is using the library. The books you check out may have been made from trees, but you are not buying new copies, thus preventing any additional trees from being cut down. You also do not have to worry about funding OPEC, Chevron, or Exxon Mobile, as you do not have to pay the transportation costs associated with shipping the books to the bookstore or your house. The only transportation cost you have to cover is your own trip to the library, and hopefully you can take the bus.

If you are not a fan of your area's library, buying used books also conserves much paper. I would, however, recommend you only go this route if it is a book you will get maximum utility out of. If it is not, you will read the book and and then it will gather dust on your bookshelf.

And, or course, who could forget the Amazon Kindles? Reading digital copies of books does not require any forest destruction, and the books you read on them take only five minutes or so to get; all you have to do is log onto, order the book, and it is there on your Kindle screen in five minutes. The only two downsides to Kindles: they are made in China, which causes job losses here in America, and you have to order them online, forcing you to pay the shipping costs (indirectly) to oil companies.

For cleaner air, many people would say driving less is the best option, but I would argue refraining from tobacco use is better. Last November, the World Health Organization's research found second hand smoke causes a whopping 600,000 deaths a year. I realize that many people are hooked, but try using the eco-cigs. I have two friends who use tobacco, and they tell me eco-cigs reduce stress just as much as the regular ones.

Buying recycled, recyclable products can only do good, as they reduce the size of landfills. A series of children's birth defects in Dickson, Tennessee were caused by the county landfill located right next to the city. If you refrain from buying disposable products that end up in landfills after use, quality of life and the air supply will be much better.

But convincing Obama and the U.S. Congress to cut the Pentagon's budget and bring our armed forces home will clean the air supply the most. The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world. It is exempt from all international climate laws, also according to Project Censored. Convincing the feds of that will be difficult, sadly, given the political power of the military industrial complex.


Former Staff
Sep 2007
Maybe my user title will provide a clue.
I got an e-reader (not a Kindle, obviously, I'm an elitist) for Christmas and I like it more than I'd have guessed, but I've only read one book on it so far. I could never give up books, either. But many of the books I read were published (i.e. trees murdered) years or decades ago, so maybe that makes my sin smaller....?