Beliefnet
Chattering Mind

By Valerie Reiss, filling in for Amy.

Earth Day is upon us, Earthlings, and it seems like there is so much more happening now that in years past. I’m seeing a truly incredible upwelling of support, outrage, and determination to turn this thing around.

One of the most mainstream signs of this is the 2nd annual “green” issue of Vanity Fair that just hit newsstands. It’s full of heart-stopping photos of deforestation, a condemning profile of anti-environmentalist Rush Limbaugh, a takedown of another global warming debunker, and inspiring portraits of those at the dewy edge of the green movement right now–chefs, students, musicians, fashionistas, and marine biologists. It’s pretty heart-wrenching and motivating all at once. Oh and of course, there’s a piece on the upcoming Tesla roadster, a $92,000 electric sports car (George Clooney’s already put his name on the list).

Graydon Carter paints quite an administration-damning picture in his editor’s letter. A sample: “In the six subsequent years, the White House has rolled back some 400 environmental-protection laws… the president has so fully greased the revolving door between Washington and the oil, gas, and logging businesses that virtually every government agency having to do with the environment is now in the hands of men and women who used to work for, defend, or lobby for the very polluting industries their departments were established to police.”

Though I applaud all of this consciousness-raising, I really truly do, it still greatly bums me out that the magazine isn’t printed on even remotely recycled paper. That’s a whole lot of virgin forest going to raising awareness about deforestation. In fact, last year Treehugger published a reader’s letter that broke down the probable consequences of such a choice:

“That single issue [the green issue of Vanity Fair] involved the destruction of thousands of trees and it was printed using chlorine and other chemicals. Specifically, that issue probably used up to 2,247 tons of pulp, and produced up to 4,331,757 pounds of greenhouse gases,13,413,922 gallons of wastewater, and 1,744,060 pounds of solid waste throughout the printing process.”

Grist.org leads us to this site, which shows us which magazines use recycled paper all the time, here.

I encourage you to voice any disgruntledness you might have with Vanity Fair here: letters@vf.com.

I would add that you spoon in some great heaps of praise as well for what they HAVE done, which is bring attention and explication to issues that don’t have abstract consequences. Issues that not only damage us and our lovely, leafy, watery planet, but all the creatures who are doing their best to live here too. When I need to remind myself of why I should care, I think of the whales. And the dolphins. And the elephants. All the stunning, sentient creatures who live by our grace and mercy.

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