On July 12, a sunny Tuesday, Professor Dumbledore and dozens of Harry Potter fans gathered at Caffè Appassionato atop the Hill in support of forest-friendly publishing.
The National Wildlife Federation and the Boreal Songbird Initiative cosponsored the event to encourage awareness of a new trend in green publishing.
"It is hard to imagine that a book of this size, the number of copies that are printed, could be printed on virgin fiber," said Paula Del Giudice, director of the West office of the National Wildlife Federation. He was referring to the paper that American Harry Potter books are printed on. "There is so much recycled paper available."
The goal of the event was to urge publishers to print more books on recycled paper and, specifically, to protect the Boreal Forest of Canada and Alaska. Kids wrote letters to the CEO of Scholastic Publishing, the U.S. publisher of Harry Potter, and asked him to print the upcoming Potter books on recycled, forest-friendly paper.
Scholastic plans to print nearly 11 million copies of the new Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," on un-recycled paper. In the meantime, Raincoast Books, Harry's Canadian publisher, printed almost a million copies of the latest volume on recycled paper.
To be precise, Raincoast published "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" on 100-percent post-consumer paper, the wood fibers were processed without using chlorine and they fueled their paper plant with methane from a nearby landfill. The company calculated that it had saved enough trees to more than fill New York's Central Park - the equivalent of Seward Park and Discovery Park combined.
If Canada can do it, why can't we?
"Harry Potter fans may not realize it, but by buying their books on recycled paper they are helping to protect Canada's Boreal Forest," noted Nothman. "They are also encouraging publishers to print more forest-friendly books in the future."
A large amount of the paper used to print books, including "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," comes from the Boreal Forest, which spans 1.4-billion acres from the east coast of Canada to central Alaska and is one of the last and largest intact forests (i.e., unbroken by development and gas lines) left on Earth.
"We are trying to protect the Bo-real Forest because it is North Amer-ica's bird nursery," explained Lane Nothman, operations director of the Boreal Songbird Initiative.
Half of all North American bird species depend on the Boreal Forest, which also is home to some of the planet's largest populations of grizzly bears, wolves, lynx and woodland caribou.
This year, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Israel joined Canada in printing the new "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" on recycled paper.
"We think that it really reflects a trend in the publishing industry toward green publishing," concluded Del Giudice.
"We would like the U.S. not to lag behind."