TIME magazine named Greta Thunberg its 2019 Person of the Year, yet the legacy outlet is being cagey about its overall carbon footprint as the 16-year-old activist advocates for stricter climate policies.
The magazine awarded Thunberg the honor Wednesday after she spent 2019 warning government officials about what she believes is a climate crisis.
TIME, for its part, has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for information about its carbon output.
Other media outlets have been more forthright about what they are doing to address climate change. Discover Magazine, for instance, published a lengthy article in 2008 fleshing out how the magazine’s supply chain affects the environment.
Discover, which had a total circulation of about 580,000 as of 2012, noted in the piece that each month’s issue in this process released the equivalent of 170 tons of carbon dioxide.
As a point of contrast, TIME had a circulation of more than two million in 2017, The Wall Street Journal noted.
Discover used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GGP) to flesh out the emission levels of its supply chain, a process that includes paper mill operations, employee’s work travel, as well as printing and shipping.
A coalition of groups created the GGP to gather data on how to make businesses greener.
The magazine estimated that 2 and one-tenth pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted when “we harvest trees, turn the freshly milled paper into your individual copy of DISCOVER, get it into your hands.”
That number is the equivalent to “twelve 100-watt lightbulbs glowing for an hour or a car engine burning 14 ounces of gasoline,” Discover noted at the time.
The article’s writers noted that Discover also factored office space into the equation. Computers, fluorescent lights, printers, and kitchen supplies “allow us to do our work,” so such energy-consuming devices were necessary to calculate when determining the emission levels, Discover added.
Discover estimated that it used roughly 9,091 kilowatt-hours worth of natural gas and electricity usage to keep the lights on. The average single-family home used 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month at the time, according to Discover.
Thunberg is the youngest person to receive the honor since TIME started naming people of the year in 1927.
“She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement,” TIME’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said on NBC Wednesday.
He also suggested Thunberg represented a coalition of young people protesting on behalf of social justice and environmental issues.
TIME cut back on circulation and frequency of some of its biggest titles in 2017 as the magazine’s publisher attempted to reduce costs, with the company announcing that year that it would reduce weekly circulation by one-third. Still, TIME is holding with a steady printed viewership.
FridaysForFuture, a movement that sprang up after Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament in 2018 to protest a lack of action on climate change, has not yet responded to the DCNF’s request for comment about what activists think of TIME’s printed edition.
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