No Books, Please!

credit: Darkwood67
“I prefer not to read things printed on a dead tree.”

So said a young environmentalist when I offered her a copy of my environmentally themed book, Planted. Because I looked at her so blankly and still held my book out like a limp hand waiting to be grasped, she eventually accepted it, I assume to save me embarrassment. It took a few minutes for her comment to sift through the grey matter of my brain before I realised that this woman didn’t read books. No books! At least not books that involve paper -- she later told me she reads everything on her Kindle.

It would be easy to dismiss her as a fringe fanatic. I mean, who doesn’t love books!? (Truth be told, I have rubbed the covers of new books on my face like one would with a swath of silk or toddler’s hand.) Aesthetics aside, I appreciate her conviction, even if the cynic in me wants to ask if she lives in a house made out of dead trees, or if she is sure the heavy metals in her Kindle were ethically sourced, or if her car serves primarily as a means of transportation or is really just a really big pink planter (a la the photo).

But I digress… as I said, I appreciate her conviction. She has made a choice based on her values and is living them out – no dead trees as a means of communication, period, the end.

I applaud her choice because living with an ecological consciousness means making decisions. Some of these decisions will be inconsistent with others, some will look radical, some will look silly. But without them we are left with only an empty ideology.

So, going back to my Kindle-loving Enviro friend -- here’s the main thing I admire about this woman. She still took the book. She told me her opinion, but she saved me embarrassment. She recognised that we’re all on a journey. She didn’t lecture me. She put our newly established relationship first. And because of her graciousness I haven’t been able to dismiss her conviction. It has stuck with me and made me think harder about what decisions I can make that will help me live lighter on the planet today.
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