Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Earth day is an interesting holiday.

While a day devoted to awareness of your impact on the environment is, of course, a good idea, it has always struck me as kind of ineffectual to spend one day focused on the environment, when the only real way to help to is to change your habits rather than make a few gestures on a state mandated holiday.

That being said, I guess the real value of the day comes in taking a step back and looking at what you’ve done over the last year to help reduce your environmental footprint and what you’re planning on doing to improve further in the next year, and what good habits you've formed over the year and what you can do to improve next year.

This year, the biggest step that I’ve been a part of has been the reduction of paper from catalogues. We’ve made huge strides this year in reducing the circulation of our five core catalogues by becoming more active in targeting our mailings. Over this school, we’ve reduced the amount of paper used in our catalogues by a huge amount – an estimated 61,950 pounds of paper.

We improved our in-office recycling program by getting single stream recycling for the whole office. We’ve instituted an employee ride share and public transportation benefit that includes reimbursement for gas and transportation costs for employees. Over the summer, we also volunteered at a local wildlife preserve working on clearing trails, painting kiosks, and similar tasks. We planted trees at our Smyrna, Delaware offices to help provide shade to a number of our windows.

In looking at the upcoming year, we’re going to continue working on internal recycling programs including bringing a recycling container to every desk (In fact, I think I’ll order them today). We’re also looking at installing solar panels on our roof to offset some of our electricity uses.

What have you done this year to decrease your footprint? Do you have any ideas on what else we can do in the upcoming year?

PS. Our friends at the American Shakespeare Center have compiled the Top 10 Green Shakespeare Quotes to help celebrate the day in Bard-tastic style.

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