Kevin Keane on “the Coal-Fired Internet”
By Patrick Henry
Published: October 1, 2009
(The following is taken from an article submitted to A Printing Office by Kevin Keane, president and CEO of IAPHC, the Graphic Professionals Resource Network. Contact him at email@example.com—Ed.) The best line of Print 09 was uttered in his usual off-handed but acutely insightful manner by Dr. Joe Webb at the first Xerox luncheon on September 11. Dr. Joe said: "We have a coal-fired Internet." Meaning, we should not forget that all those who tout paperless billing via a the Internet or downloading e-books to their Amazon Kindle reader via the Internet are still using one of millions of computer nodes on a worldwide network which is run off of electricity and which by definition leaves a carbon imprint of a considerably sulfurous sort. During my remarks as the wrap-up speaker at the Executive Outlook Conference which preceded Print 09, I observed that our industry (the printing and publishing industry and its relatives in communications) has not done, with a few notable exceptions like The Print Council, much of an effective job of fighting back in a unified and coordinated manner against the drum-beat that print on paper is bad, is not green and is not cool, with-it and wow. Everyone in the industry needs to do better in a fact-based manner with the occasional pithy petard like Dr. Joe’s coal-fired Internet observation. Our industry associations, our industry vendors, and in fact every single person who makes a living in the global graphic arts needs to pick up the fallen flag of pride and fight back to validate that what we do has value, and is not implicitly anti-environment. If you were a member of the IAPHC group, you would have found this pithy little nugget from the Two Sides Campaign: • The original wireless communication: Producing and reading a traditional newspaper can consume 20% less energy than reading news online for more than 30 minutes. The Internet is an amazing tool, and a real friend to communicating quickly and often quite accurately, I mean just think about how many links are embedded in what you just read! But print on paper retains a place of honor at the table of human discourse, thought-leadership and learning to be a citizen of the world. Let's not be shy about the power of print.