When it came time for Lulu author Morag Embleton to publish her book Old Knobbley the Oak Tree, she had a dilemma: how could she get her marvelous book to more readers without contributing to deforestation from the printing of her book on paper?
Lucky for her, she found WeForest,an “international organization dedicated to sustainable reforestation” that can help her offset the printing of the book by donating some of her profit to planting more trees.
“I love trees and my book is made from paper. I couldn’t be sure that here in the UK the Lulu printers would be using FSC paper. I know print on demand is much better than print runs of thousands that may or may not sell, but I just couldn’t bear the thought that something that I had created would increase deforestation and biodiversity loss. I did the math and it was feasible with the ‘buy 2 get 1 tree’ idea (for every two books printed, one tree will be planted) to more than off-set the paper in the books. Plus my book is about an 800 year old tree (Knobbley), and he insisted.”
Morag is now a volunteer at WeForest and has spent years focusing on environmental issues.
“I’ve been concerned about deforestation since the 1980s when I learned about the large tracts of rainforest being felled in the Amazon. All these years on and trees are still disappearing faster than they are being replaced. When I heard that WeForest’s founder Bill Liao had a vision to plant 2 trillion trees, I quickly found their YouTube video about how to repair the world. WeForest’s work puts local people at the center of the tree planting process so the trees will be cared for and in turn provide food and an income. A winning formula!”
Morag explained how multi-platform publishing can help promote a favorite cause, “If you have a cause that you are really passionate about, self-publishing is a great way to show that you care.”
Morag’s experience has not only been beneficial to the environment, but to her self-satisfaction as well. “It’s a book that I’ve been wanting to create for many years. It’s wonderful to finally hold a copy in my own hands (the printing and binding quality of the final product is impressive too – a proper book!). First feedback on Lulu has been brilliant. I’m really pleased that others are enjoying the book and recommending it to friends. I can’t wait to really start promoting it. I’d love to create similar books for ancient trees in other countries. “Old Knobbley the Oak Tree” could be the beginning of a series of illustrated children’s books about trees, history and the environment.”
Other organizations that work against deforestation using the power of reading include Eco-Libris, a company that Lulu has partnered with in the past to plant 500 trees as well as the non-profit organization Green Press Initiative.
For creative and caring authors like Morag, the new publishing paradigm has opened up a whole new way to draw attention to their work, and their cause.