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.

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