Is it better for the environment to read your newspaper online?

Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
Feb. 26 2008 8:42 AM

Should I Cancel My Newspaper Subscription?

The environmental pros and cons of reading online.

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The Lantern isn't quite convinced by this argument; he thinks it underestimates the long-term consequences and carbon emissions of logging in old-growth forests, as well as the nasty pollution created by the wood pulping industry. So, despite the intriguing Swedish report, the Lantern maintains that online newspapers come out ahead of their dead-tree Sunday rivals.

That conclusion is subject to revision, though, if American newspapers start adopting more sustainable environmental practices. The Green Press Initiative, for example, recommends that publishers increase their use of recycled fibers to 50 percent of the total by 2012 and use only virgin fibers that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

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By the time the industry gets around to making those changes, however, we may have already entered the age of the ubiquitous e-reader. And at this point, no one really knows how the proliferation of such hardware will affect the planet.

Is there an environmental quandary that's been keeping you up at night? Send it to ask.the.lantern@gmail.com, and check this space every Tuesday.

Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and a columnist for Gizmodo. His first book, Now the Hell Will Start, is out now.