Rock. Paper. Scissors. How Do We All Win?
Oct 15 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the amount of paper we use and come in contact with from newspapers, magazines, bank/credit card/mutual fund statements, printed paper, kids crafts, etc.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time but either didn’t have the time or wasn’t sure how to approach the topic but after writing a first draft down on October 5, 2007, I happened upon a post called What Have You Done Lately? by Lorelle on WordPress the very next day!  Her post led me to Blog Action Day, and I though ‘Holy Trees Batman,’ this is why I am supposed to write this post despite my Bloggo Fears that people will think I’m nuts or possibly a Tree Hugger!  And now because of Blog Action Day I have found the reason to do this post today, October 15, 2007.

I was motivated to write this post because I have been attempting to clean up my home office and the paper shuffling has been at an all time maximum.  I like to make space and get a sense of openness before embarking on a strategic thinking endeavor…which I am in the process of doing regarding the future direction of Babble Soft.  Boy do I wish we lived near a beach…because something about sitting under a huge umbrella, staring at the ocean, and listening to the waves with a margarita in my hand would really help get my thinking juices flowing!  :-)

I have seen some things written about reducing the amount of paper used in office environments such as:

But I haven’t seen much written about how each of us as individuals can help reduce the amount of paper products we come in contact with on a daily basis.  I did see a post made by Tim Sanders called Redesign your reading life where he discusses ideas on how to reduce the amount of paper by changing how you read.

But what I’m proposing is slightly different.  I have been looking at the things we don’t necessarily read and/or need to have a hard copy of.  So here’s what I’ve decided to do, and I took action on the day I wrote the first draft of this post back on October 5. 

I finally called Pottery Barn and told them to take me OFF their catalogue mailing list for their pottery barn baby and PB teen catalogues.  I think I ordered one thing from them a few years ago and then somehow got on their catalogue mailing list.  Every time I would get them I thought to myself I really ought to tell them to quit sending these to me, but I was always in the middle of something or I said to myself ‘oh, I’ll do it later’ and immediately put them into our recycle bin.

Now it’s great to recycle but what if I hadn’t even gotten those catalogues to begin with for the last few years?  Would some trees have been allowed to continue growing?  Would the additional oxygen they breathed into the environment have had an affect on our heated discussions on global warming?  Would we have Cooler Heads?

Since I’m not a scientist and don’t play one on TV, I really have no proof indicating that this tree saving would happen but my gut tells me that reducing the amount of paper we receive can’t hurt.  Also common sense tells me that record amounts of rain and 100 degree temperatures being more common than not here in Texas this past year are probably an indicator of something.

It took me literally less than 2 minutes to call Pottery Barn, give them the codes on the catalogues and they removed me.  And you know what? She actually THANKED me for calling them to let her know!  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because I was half expecting her to ask me why I wanted to be removed, try to convince me to continue receiving them, and/or convince me to order something.   Isn’t it funny how our assumptions of how we think something will happen might actually subconsciously dissuade us from taking immediate action?

So I’d like to challenge all of you to do something to reduce the amount of paper in your lives.   If you share in the comments what you did that might give others more reason to examine their paper-filled life.  If you are a blogger, I encourage you to post about this on your blog (please don’t feel like you have to link back to this post – I’m not writing about this for links) and let’s see if each of us making one small step to reduce the paper in our home lives can make a difference over time.

Canceling the catalogues to Pottery Barn was just the beginning, I still have a long way to go, and I’ll either update this blog or post about my progress in future posts.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Change statements (financial, bank, etc.) to e-statements if possible
  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines you no longer read
  • Encourage places like pre-schools and private schools to send you receipts by email if they can
  • Ask people who want to fax you something to scan and email it to you instead and then save it instead of printing it if possible
  • Ask the post office if they can quit sending those coupon pages, fliers, etc. that you never use.  I have no idea if it’s possible to have them quit sending bulk mail, but I guess it can’t hurt to ask.

If anyone has any other ideas, please share them!  If any of you have already posted on this topic, please let me know and I’ll update this post to refer to it.

One small action could quite possibly lead to a phenomenal reaction!  How will we ever know if we don’t try….

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Blog Action Day Is Coming. Are You Ready?
Oct 11 2007

I, along with thousands of bloggers around the world, will be writing a post related to the environment on October 15, 2007. Check out the Blog Action Day site and see how you can get involved. They have even created a nice video about it on YouTube:

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