If it’s an exciting time to be in local media, it’s also one facing down the gravest threat to life on this planet as we know it. Manmade global warming is real, driven by our reliance on carbon-fuel sources and the destruction of natural habitats.
Starting this year, we are a carbon-neutral company. This is possible thanks to the work of Craig Moody at the local sustainable consultancy Verdis Group and Jeremy Manion at the Arbor Day Foundation. Manion leads verified forestry carbon partnerships through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Voluntary Carbon Market Program.
When The Reader went to a monthly frequency in 2015, we commissioned Verdis Group to audit our greenhouse gas emissions. The group looked at our operations, from the office, to our printing, to delivering tens of thousands of papers across the city.
At that time, it was determined that by going to a monthly frequency we would use 135 tons of carbon per year — effectively cutting our carbon footprint by 42 percent. While audits like these should be updated every year or so, it’s most likely that amount has decreased as utilities increasingly add renewable energy to their base offerings and fuel efficiency improves.
Based on Verdis Group’s audit, with an update coming soon, our company will be paying the Arbor Day Foundation to help fund reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, one of the most important carbon sinks in North America.
We’ll be working with Verdis Group and the Arbor Day Foundation this year to promote carbon neutral to newspapers across the country and to local businesses here.
UPDATE: When this was first posted in early 2019, we purchased enough credits to last us through the summer of 2022. Then the pandemic hit, we combined The Reader and El Perico into one print edition and our delivery locations dropped from over 750+ to less than 100. The office was mostly closed. We’re pretty sure this means we’re good through 2023, probably even longer, but we aim to renew our audit in the summer of 2023 when we believe operations will mostly have returned to normal and we can establish a good benchmark for moving forward. Of course, as the world is acknowledging in Egypt as this is written, that’s not enough. We’ll all have to do more and we intend to rise to that challenge. We have no choice if we care anything about this planet and future generations. We are starting to think about a paperless future even as the communities we aim to serve do not have equitable access to the internet.