Monday, January 14, 2008

Seeing Green

Green is fashionable right now. With all the hooplah about global warming, hybrid cars, carbon footprints and such, everyone is beginning to feel the pressure.

So what's a person to do? Go hide in a corner and cry? Or run down to the nearest hardware store and max out the credit card on florescent lightbulbs, extra insulation for the attic, light switches that sense when the room is occupied and automatically turn the lights on and off, plastic to cover your windows....?

I'm a print buyer by profession and green has struck that industry as well. I have an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) brochure sitting on my desk right now. I also got to get a look at "green" fabric for banner displays last week. We've been investigating window envelopes with corn based film for the windows.

I do believe we need to start thinking about the mess we're making of the world for the sake of comfort and consumerism. We heat our homes to a toasty 72ยบ in winter and cool them in summer. We buy a house in a nice neighborhood and then drive 20 to 40 miles round trip to work. We leave our Tivo on 24/7 so that we can be sure to record all our favorite shows don't bother to shut down the computer, just log out, since it's faster to get up and running that way. And there are all those clocks in the house that are always running. The one in the bedroom, the one in the bathroom, the one on all 3 DVD players, and the one on the stove as well as the one on the microwave. All those little things quietly eating electricity. And then there are all those disposable products... I could go on forever, but what to do.

Here's an idea. Start with one thing you can handle. Most people recycle. Our waste disposal companies often make it easy by providing guidelines and bins. So if you haven't started yet, it's a good place to start turning green.

If you're someone who uses a lot of light in your home, change to florescent. I must confess that we haven't done that yet. I live under florescents at work all day and they wear me out. So we just keep the lights off except in the room where we're at. For example, we change the main light bulbs in our family room and my studio fairly regularly, but I can't remember the last time I had to replace a light bulb in the kitchen or living room.

If you want to go to a larger scale, start finding ways you can conserve otherwise. How about your junk mail. On the Church of the Customer blog, the writer saved up his junk mail for a year and accumulated over 21 pounds of paper. Somehow that seems low.

Can you imagine how much you would reduce the amount of trash you put on the curb every week if you didn't get any junk mail? Sound like an out of reach dream? Go to the DMA web site and sign up for a dollar to get your junk mail stopped. I did and I'm really looking forward to when it starts kicking in. It takes about 3 months to start tapering off since most mailings are planned at least that far in advance.

Does anyone else have any small but easy and significant ideas that can help us live a little more green? Please share.

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