Letâ€™s talk about sustainability. And letâ€™s talk about how New has become a bad word. And letâ€™s talk about how Iâ€™m writing this on my new, beautiful MacBook, sipping fair trade coffee in a vegan cafÃ©. Our lives are full of choices, causing many of us to constantly weigh our net impact. We are forever asking: Buy new? Or scrimp, save, and settle?
Paper is just one part of this question. I consider a page printed on only one side as a piece of paper only half used. I’ll gladly stick it in my printer and use the other side. My sheet of paper is committing the noble act of turning the other cheek.
My book group encourages everyone to find each selection in the library or at a used bookstore. Which is fine, until we choose a slightly obscure title and must desperately toss it around in an effort to get the two copies in existence to everyone before we meet.
I recently saw Colin Beavan, a writer whoâ€™s going for a year of no-impact living in NYC, on The Colbert Report. Beavan, who sported a rumpled suit (perhaps because an iron uses unnecessary electricity) and had no doubt walked or scootered to the studio, explained to Stephen Colbert that although heâ€™s going to write a book about the experience, his publisher is looking into alternatives to paper to print it! Talk about commitment to sustainability. (Iâ€™m not sure why it couldnâ€™t just be an electronic book, but I guess it wouldnâ€™t sell as well, and he wants more of that lovely, reusable paper-like product called Money).
I could go on and on with all sorts of other products, from cars to keychains.
I personally am nowhere near zero impact, but I do what I can. Iâ€™ve bought or acquired a lot of second-hand clothes and furniture in my day, made food from scratch instead of buying pre-made in its multitude of packaging, taken public transportation when it would have been easy to drive. Usually, these measures have added benefit. Otherwise, to be honest, Iâ€™m not sure that I would have done them. On top of the warm, cuddly feeling of saving the world, usually these measures are cheaper and funkier and add adventure to my life.
This time, when it became clear that I needed a new computer, I decided I could justify bringing new materials into the world. Iâ€™m happy with it, and it is helping in my cause, letting me impart more sustainable ideas to you… right? Ok, maybe Iâ€™m stretching it. But I have to say that every time someone finds out about my new purchase and welcomes me to the â€œdark side,â€ I smile without shame.