BOM and Carbon Use, A Love Story

After reading Brooke Warner’s article on how the publishing industry contributes to climate change, I began thinking about how Buck Off Magazine impacts the environment. We don’t print, so we’re not responsible for any part of the 20 million trees annually cut down for new books.

But as an online magazine, we still use energy. In order for readers to access our volumes, they have to turn on electronics. Additionally, our contributors have to use energy to submit creative work to us and the BOM staff meet via video conference almost weekly. Also, let’s not forget our active Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. And, of course, this blog. Curating all that content requires hours of computer use every month.

I say all this because according to EnergGuide, an online resource on energy consumption, the average computer contributes about 175 kilograms of carbon dioxide every year. In our three years since launching, BOM has contributed nearly 1,575 kilograms of carbon dioxide. And since a single tree can absorb about 99 kilograms of CO2 in a year, BOM needs about 5 trees to cancel out the amount of carbon we’ve added to the atmosphere.

Christmas tree farm in Iowa.
All these trees are for Buck Off Magazine.

While the numbers can seem staggering, hope is not lost. All three editors are conscientious on the impact humans have on the environment and we do our part to help reduce carbon emissions. We’ve streamlined our reading and editing processes, and staying strictly online prevents further deforestation.

But most importantly, as the publishing industry changes to match the planet’s need, BOM is ready to adapt too. Renewable energy’s potential has yet to be fully reached and as technologies evolve to address environmental concerns, there will be a plethora of more opportunities we can utilize to reduce our carbon footprint.

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