May 27th, 2009
Twice a year they arrive on my doorstep with a loud and familiar thump: the “yellow pages” - a book two inches thick and wrapped in plastic so that the pages don’t get ruined by the rain or dew or sprinklers. And when it arrives, I dutifully pull my old dusty, yet unopened book out from underneath my computer monitor, throw it in the recycling bin and put the new yellow pages in its place, where it will hold up the monitor until the next book arrives.
What a waste! It takes 19 million trees, 1.6 billion pounds of paper, 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and 7.2 million barrels of oil to produce the 500 million directories that are delivered across the nation each year. (Source: YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, an organization working to stop the delivery of unwanted Yellow and White Pages Books.)
And for what? For most of us, the yellow pages are obsolete; there are so many great online resources that are available like switchboard.com or yellowpages.com. These sites provide all of the address and phone number information that we used to gather by flipping through the yellow pages, plus they can provide maps, directions and more.
If you are using one of these (or similar) online directories and no longer wish to receive yellow pages, contact the company that publishes your yellow pages and ask them to stop delivery to your household and/or business.
- Verizon (Superpages/Idearc): 800.888.8448
- Dex (Yellow Pages): 877.243.8339
- Yellow Book: 800.373.3280
- AT&T/YellowPages (formerly SBC/Bell South): 800.792.2665 for AR, KS, OK, MO and TX only/All other states call 800.848.8000
Or, you can sign up with YellowPagesGoesGreen.org and they will contact your local phone company for you. Their service is free.
May 20th, 2009
I just found a wonderful new book, The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green, by Terra Wellington. It is chock full of great information, resources and simple life style changes that can help us all to live greener lives.
You can learn a recipe for a homemade non-toxic bug spray for the garden; where to buy washable and reusable air filters for your car; how to stop your junk mail; and what all of those different recycling symbols and numbers on the bottom of your plastic containers mean. Wellington also tells you why and where to purchase pretty much anything you need for your home: carpets and paints that are no- or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products, energy-efficient appliances for your kitchen, low-flow toilets and water-efficient showerheads, etc.
In one of my favorite sections of the book, Wellington shares an inspiring step-by-step guide for any mom wanting to help bring about change in her child’s school. The “Green School Action Blueprint” includes questions to ask, solutions to advocate, and sage advice on how to most effectively be a force for change.
The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green was written as a resource for “busy moms,” but really, it’s a great how-to guide for anyone. Check it out!
April 13th, 2009
As Earth Day approaches, how about taking a moment to applaud yourself for everything you’re already doing to be kind to the planet. Maybe you’re saving energy (and reducing global warming emissions) by driving less or adjusting your thermostat. Maybe you’re saving trees by using less paper and buying recycled paper products.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the wildlife that lives around me. Born Free USA reminds us that “our earth is their earth home too.” Their “Coexisting with Wildlife” campaign is designed to promote the peaceful sharing of the earth, particularly in areas where people and wildlife tend to come into conflict. Their website has all sorts of resources for humanely living with the animals in our midst.
Check it out and share it with others!
For anyone living in an urban area or in areas abutting undeveloped natural lands, rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, deer, and even coyotes probably live in your neighborhood, and even in your home. Sometimes it may be tempting to call these critters a nuisance - when the deer feast on your favorite flowers or the raccoons make a mess out of your tidy trash bag or a skunk sprays your dog. This year on Earth Day, send out a moment of appreciation for all these wild and semi-wild creatures and keep on caring for the Earth we all share!
February 13th, 2009
The US Postal Service is proposing cutting back its delivery service from six to five days per week. Which day would be cut from the delivery schedule is not yet known, but I’ve read Saturday or Tuesday. The reason? Budget crisis – an issue not new to the US Post office.
Whatever the reasoning, at this day in age, I think this reduction in the mail delivery schedule makes great sense. Many people today are using the internet to connect with friends and family, to receive and pay bills, and to learn about new products and ideas. In fact, in 2008, the US Postal Service delivered 9 billion fewer pieces of mail compared to 2007. Though not so great for the postmaster, this is clearly great news for trees! Cutting back delivery service will, I hope, encourage the use of modern communication technology, making us all less dependent on paper mail, and improving our environment. Think about the C02 emissions from all of the little (and big) mail trucks that wouldn’t be making their way around our neighborhoods and across our states on Saturdays (or Tuesdays).
January 28th, 2009
Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas opened an exhibit earlier this month by artist Annette Lawrence that highlights the amount of junk mail that one person receives over the course of a year. The exhibit, called “Free Paper,” displays the artist’s junk mail shredded into two-inch wide strips and then stacked in 12 piles — one for each month of 2008. The total weight of all of her junk mail is 265 pounds. The tallest (and heaviest) stacks of junk mail are around the winter holidays.
Because I like things to be generally nice and tidy, I find the stacks oddly comforting to look at, almost beautiful. (Granted, I have only seen images of the exhibit via the Internet.) Still, the message behind the artwork is clear. In an interview with KXAN, a local Austin news channel, Lawrence says that she wants visitors to the exhibit to take a way a sense of “wow, that’s a lot of paper.”
And a lot of paper it is!
If you’re in Austin, check out the exhibit, which runs through February 6th at Flatbed Press and let us know what you think!