Thursday, April 05, 2007

Better World

One of the things that my father really pushed on my brother and I was to leave the world a better place after we are gone. He reasoning was nothing major. Nothing huge. Small things. Small things that add up over time. An example would be buying a house and fixing it up. So, that when you are done - it is nicer for the next person. Giving money to a homeless shelter. Volunteering. That type of thing.

Over time, with life and hobbies and everything, it is easy to forget or not make a concerted effort on these things. Now don't get me wrong. I haven't given up taking my canvas bags grocery shopping or buying stuff in fewer packages .... but my focus has been a bit off for a while.

I've started this spring by doing a couple of things. First off, I've been giving more. Giving more things and money. Giving is something that feels good ... but I guess is a bit less direct than I like. So, I started looked at little things in my everyday life. I get PILES (probably 10/day during non-holiday season). Loads and loads. Most of them I never even look at. Some come for both Mike and I. I've started taking one day a week - calling the companies that I'll never order from or I get duplicates from - and canceling the catalogs. I'm more an online shopper than a catalog shopper anyway. And the piles of catalogs mostly get recycled and never read. I'm still scoping out other methods - so if you have any good ideas ... pass them along!


Mouser said...

Have you considered donating $$$ to the starving postdoc fund?

alex said...

One of the things that I've been thinking about recently is cutting way back on the amount of stuff that I mail order. This is probably easier for me in Seattle than for you in Sante Fe.

The problem with mail ordering is the extreme inefficiency of shipping products one at a time. If 50 people order books from Amazon at in the same neighborhood then 50 boxes are used, multiple trucks are probably used, and those trucks make 50 stops where they idle to drop the box off.

If the same 50 people get the book from their local book shop (maybe by special order if the shop doesn't stock the book) then one or two boxes are used, there is one truck involved, and one stop where it idles.

It makes the largest difference if you walk or bike to the book shop of course, but even driving a small car is a big improvement over having a large truck drive to you.