We humans are notorious for hoarding books that we're really only going to read once. And while it's nice to think that all those trees weren't cut down in vain because they give us lasting memory of a positive literary experience, it's about time we think about some more sustainable options. E-books are one great solution, but what about when your kid wants something tangile to read?
Enter Mi Papá Estuvo en la Selva (My Father Was In the Jungle), from Argentinian publisher, Pequeno Editor. This childen's book can be buried in the ground when you're done with it to grow a brand new jacaranda tree - a native Argentinian species. Printed with non-toxic ink and jacaranda seeds embedded into the pages, the book is a cute little reminder about how easy it is to give something back to the environment that provides us with so much.
"Before planting the book, kids water the cover to help the seeds germinate, and leave it in a sunny spot indoors," says Adele Peters at Fast Company. "Once the seeds have sprouted, the book can go in a garden or in the dirt next to a road or sidewalk."
Sure, the idea isn't going to change the world any time soon, because publishers don't want to discourage us from hoarding their books, but it's one of a growing range of products that promote new ways of thinking about sustainability on an individual level. And it's not about devaluing the actual book either, as Raquel Franco, editorial director of Pequeno Editor, told Peters:
"We especially encourage re-reading it. We think this book must be planted after it has been read many times, in such a way that every time a kid looks at that growing tree he will perfectly remember the story that gave birth to it. It's also a metaphor - everything we read also takes root in us and is part of our mental library, our culture, of who we are as people."