Monday, June 2, 2008

Literature & Global Warming

Look, folks: I want you to seriously consider how literature is/will be greatly affected by oil prices, global warming, and resultant economic plummet. I want you to consider that the publishing paradigm we're now using is not optimal, that we should be using & demanding development of new technologies to save both the book and the environment.

Here's an excerpt from the presentation I gave at the &NOW Festival of Innovative Writing & Art in April:

So now as a result of all that’s come before and coming now, of preparing this lecture, of thinking past the easily reachable threads already in place so that the whole realizes a burst of growth, reaches too toward some other available metaphorical space wherein and whereout I ask, metaphorically “What then is sustainable literature, literature that sustains itself, that leaves a small undamaging footprint in the world and yet is indubitably in the world? How important is it that the future / the present / the past know we were here? The multitude of writers and their publishers leaving mediocre pap in the world like mountains of discarded cell phones. Hundreds of thousands of new titles are published each year in the US alone and only a handful will ever be read by as many people. Hundreds of thousands multiplied by an average a print run of five thousand each equals nearly one billion new US books annually. A billion multiplied by an average of two hundred pages of paper, recycled or not. And the energy that goes into manufacturing that paper, that ink. The energy used even to recycle paper. And those timberlands cut down not only for the 200 billion pages a year, and the billion book covers a year, but for the wooden pallets on which those books will be shipped – two-thirds of the world’s cut wood, including rare hardwoods, used for pallets. And the energy used to make the pallets. And the energy used to transport the pallets of paper products and books. And the energy used to process the fuel used to transport the pallets of paper products and books. And the energy used to manufacture the transport vehicles. And the energy used to manufacture the parts used in manufacturing the vehicles. And so on here, there, then and now that thread of web tugged just enough so that I consider and thus point out to you now the tremendous amount of energy used for me to take a jet from Kansas City to California to give this talk that is not what I meant it to be.

More perspectives at Environmental Defense Action Fund.

No comments: