Does First “Green” Bible Signify Broader Shift Toward Environmentally Conscious Publishing? A Q&A with Green Press Initiative Director Tyson Miller
Extra: Generally, what has been the response to the push for more eco-friendly publishing in the religious segment?
Miller: It has been slow going, and I have been surprised. Stewardship of ourselves and others and our Earth are all foundational messages across most faiths. Oftentimes, the mentality is that if we spend a penny more, we won’t be able to produce or distribute as many books. I understand that predicament. But unfortunately, I don’t think this is a worthy excuse. We all need to do what it takes to live in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible, and it is a shame that many religion and Bible publishers are using paper that is sourced from an area of social conflict and an Endangered Forest region. Sometimes you get what you pay for. My hope is that [the publication of the green Bible] and the leadership of others [in this area]––like Baker Publishing Group, InterVarsity Press and Ave Maria Press––will be a motivating force.
Extra: Tell me about the 50 religious scholars, churches and religious advocacy organizations who have signed a GPI statement urging the use of more socially responsible practices in publishing.
Miller: The signatories to the “Statement on Responsible Paper in Religious Books” are religious scholars, individual congregations and religious advocacy organizations. We’re trying to get that list to 100 before it goes public. These signatories are saying, “We care, and this is important to us.” This is important because some religious publishers have said that they aren’t hearing about this from their constituencies.
Extra: Beyond religious publishers, what should all publishers take away from the news that the sixth-largest trade publisher in the United States is printing their most important title with consideration of its impact on the environment?
Miller: Many publishers already get it. In fact, there are nearly 150 in the United States with strong environmental policies now in place. The message for those that are still debating or procrastinating is, “Civilization as we know it will only prosper if we move beyond the profit—only understanding and taking real and meaningful steps to improve our impacts––and this applies to everyone, from citizens to corporations, book publishers to auto makers.” For those that haven’t acted, I encourage them to realize that the small things add up and to join their peer companies in shifting an industry in the right direction.