On this blog, we are talking a lot about technical writing, all aspects of it: tech writing skills, techcomm career paths, salaries of technical writers, types of technical documentation, what it takes to deliver good user manuals, etc. And, all this is interesting as hell, and as soon as one gets involved in the techcomm world, so many new things open up for discovery. We know a lot of professional technical writers for whom help authoring is more than a job, it is a lifestyle.
But, sometimes, it feels like we can get too detached from the reality around us and overlook some important stuff that is going on. This is exactly why we decided to write this article and dedicate it to one of the most significant topics for every human on planet Earth — environment protection.
The annual event called World Environment Day is taking place in China right as we are publishing this article. Let’s find out more about what this means and how technical writers can contribute to the cause.
Brief History of World Environment Day
It all started back in 1972. The UN General Assembly established World Environment Day during the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. On June 5 in 1974, the first event was held, it was named ‘Only One Earth’. Since then, World Environment Day became a huge platform for discussing any environment-related issues with around 150 countries as participants.
The main aim of this annual conference is raising awareness and encouraging action to protect the environment. Themes are different every year, like preventing the illegal trade in wildlife, stopping food wastage, mitigating plastic pollution, decreasing desertification. This year’s event raises the problem of air pollution.
China 2019 — Air Pollution
In 2019, World Environment Day is set in China, and its main theme is air pollution. The location wasn’t picked by chance. If you take a look at this tablethat represents the list of 500 cities with the worst air pollution situation, the presence of China is just overwhelming.
China’s case is nothing short of scary. Out of 560 millions of city dwellers, only 1% is breathing the air considered safe by the UN organization. Air pollution in China causes hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, with lung cancer being the leading in general. Hopefully, the fact that World Environment Day is being held in China, will raise awareness of the air pollution problem not only countrywide, but worldwide.
What Technical Writers Can Do
Considering that traditionally user manuals were made solely of paper, this industry was far from eco-friendly. Around one third of all trees cut down yearly is used to produce paper, several billions of trees. And, technical writing was quite a big part of this until recently. Now, online documentation is leading the industry. And it is not only very convenient for everyone who participates in its creation and for the readers but, also, this helps the environment a whole lot.
Technical documents can be distributed in the form of web help and accessed offline, as well, which is just as eco-friendly as having an online documentation portal. We really doubt that environment protection was one of the reasons for this techcomm evolution, but it is nice to know we are going in the right direction in so many ways.
Moreover, tech writers themselves try protecting the environment; they conduct a variety of natural resources studies including environmental assessments, aquatic resources documents, biological reports, and the like.This profession is also known as an environmental consultant (writer or specialist).
Taking care of our planet is one of the duties of the humankind. Besides, we are basically the only species who cause harm to the environment and bring imbalance to the harmony of nature. So, ecology is something that every human should keep in mind when making decisions in any part of their life — whether it is buying an extra plastic bag or working for an organization that does more harm to nature than good. If we are talking about technical writersspecifically, supporting online documentation is how we can help protect our home, the Earth.
Good luck with your technical writing!
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