Ed #13 Balance

Introduction

Gas or electric?
Paper or plastic?
Print or digital?

Life is full of decisions, and that’s especially true when it comes to the issue of sustainability and the environment. Today, virtually everyone knows that the earth is experiencing climate change, that virtually all human activity is having an impact, and that to prevent negative long-term consequences, we must find new ways to live and to work.

That holds true for the graphic arts, too. Creating sustainable communications means looking at every step of the process, from the raw materials involved (and how they are processed) to what happens after the project reaches its audience. And the deeper you dig, the more complex the choices are. The only real constant is that everything is a tradeoff. Even e-communications have a significant environmental impact, with the energy required to power the Worldwide Web, manufacture computer equipment and the issues around disposal of obsolete technology. There really are no easy answers.

The bottom line: Designers can take more responsibility for ensuring that their projects are as sustainable as possible.

This is where Ed comes in. In this issue, Ed offers a big-picture view of sustainability in communications. Ed looks at the footprints of both print and electronic communications—their environmental costs and advantages—and ways to make the best use of both. All so you can make a bigger impact on your audience while reducing your impact on the environment.

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