Going book for book
Eco company works on planting trees for the books people purchase

In December 2007 the SFSU Bookstore formed a partnership with Eco-Libris, a company determined to bring sustainability to the book industry.

The company plants a tree for every dollar you donate. You can also rent books from chegg.com, a textbook rental Web site, or buy products from one of the partner bookstores.

Eco-Libris is trying to balance the sales of books and is planting trees in a move toward sustainability in the book industry and “balancing out the paper” used for books.

“We see ourselves as an agent of change,” said Raz Godelnik, co-founder and CEO of Eco-Libris. “We want to help move the industry forward to be more sustainable.”

The company’s Web site states that in the United States alone, it takes 20 million trees to create the books that are purchased. And according to Godelnik, less than 10 percent of the industry uses recycled paper.

One of the initiatives that Eco-Libris is pushing is the “million tree-a-thon.” In collaboration with Kedzie Press, the company is trying to plant one million trees by the end of 2009. The initiative starts in April, when the first book of the program is published, titled “The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth Friendly Living,” and written by Jenn Savedge.

Josh McClary, marketing manager for Kedzie press, said the books are always made of 100 percent post-consumer waste paper and usually printed by local, eco-friendly printers.

McClary also said they plan to put out five more titles this year and eight to 10 next year under the project.

“[The initiative] has generated a lot of good feedback,” Godelnik said.

“People are understanding that we need a second industrial revolution,” McClary added, in reference to green businesses.

"The Green Parent" also has a blog at blogspot.com, which offers a wide array of tips to parents on how to teach and help their kids be green.

Eco-Libris has three planting partners: Sustainable Harvest International, RIPPLE Africa and The Alliance for International Reforestation.

Development Coordinator Christina Becherer of SHI said, “We were thrilled to partner [with Eco-Libris], they have been one of our best supporters.

The three organizations specialize in planting trees in specific regions where they are needed most to combat global warming.

For students interested in helping plant trees with organizations such as SHI, there are options available. According to Becherer one can take smaller world trips, or longer trips for specific projects that take about three months in Central America, the length of a summer. Interested students can click here for more information of the programs available.

“There is a long screening process,” Godelnik said of the process of choosing the tree-planting organizations. “To find the right partners planting the right trees, in the right places in the right manner, you need a thorough screening process.

“The number of books we balanced out so far is more than 24,000, which results in more than 31,500 trees being planted,” said Godelnik.

About 1.3 trees are planted for every tree paid for to ensure at least one tree will reach maturity.
The company, founded in 2007, is attempting to reach out to people through the Internet. Godelnik, who frequently blogs, said it is a great way to promote awareness.

“The blog is an excellent chance to spread the word—we get a lot of questions and feedback.”

The blog, in addition to promoting awareness, also reviews one green book a month.

For those looking to purchase green books and plant trees, there are options in the Bay Area. East West Bookstore in Mountain View, according to the Eco-Libris Web site, focuses on “self discovery, higher awareness and true understanding.” Fantasy and science fiction bookstore Borderlands Books is located in San Francisco at 866 Valencia St. Eco-Libris’ last partner in the bay is Willow Glen Books in San Jose, which focuses on local interests and authors. It’s located at 1330 Lincoln Ave.

Godelnik recommends the “green guides” from treehugger.com for people wanting to go green. The guides offer convenient ways to change lifestyles to go green.

Students can also go to the SFSU Bookstore and purchase a sticker from Eco-Libris that you can be placed on a book to show it is “balanced.”

For those interested in learning more about Eco-Libris click here.







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