Results tagged “sustainability”

box biking at 10F

I don’t tap my own phone. I don’t xerox postcards before I mail them back from vacation. I don’t take a voice recorder when I go out with friends. And I don’t have a copy machine at home to duplicate hand written notes I may send.

But if I send a message of equal importance by e-mail, then my e-mail program will automatically save a copy of every one of these messages.

E-mails I don’t need waste my time. They increase the time it takes to search and browse through old email. They increase the time it takes for my email to “sync” when I want to go offline. To continue to save every e-mail I send perpetuates the unsustainable myth that as long as our actions are online they are “green”.

Kent and Kurt on the Whitewater Gorge Trail

A few weeks ago I had my laptop stolen. Earlier that morning I had been reflecting and writing on the laptop about the intersection of our spiritual lives with our digital lives. And then, as if by divine intervention, my laptop disappeared— during church service no less— and I was given an even greater opportunity to answer the question: When we spent more time browsing the web, what is that we are doing less of? When we spend more checking e-mail, what are we doing less of? And when we spend more time on Facebook, what are we spending less time doing? Apparently, the answer in my case is cleaning is my desk and organizing the garage. Those are the things I did more when I could do the the internet less. I joke about this, but I do envision my home as a place of rest and rejuvenation, yet I let clutter accumulate while I spent more time on my computer doing “productive” things.

There are many implications of shifting our increasingly precious free time online. Today I’d like to delve into the carbon footprint of our online lives.

You can use the audio player here to listen to a 15 minute version of the message delivered at my church, (or you can also download the audio file.)

The message continues below the jump.

big box to the post office Today I got an unsolicited mailing from It was so thick, I asked my wife to guess how many sheets of paper they had sent us. We decided to count a return envelope as 1 sheet. She guessed 4. I guessed 5. They sent eight. Including the mailing envelope, that was 9 pieces of mostly un-recycled paper that I didn't ask for, encouraging me to take steps to save the environment. Like trees. Like trees which are cut down to create paper to send mailings like this...

I contrast this behavior with The Center for a New American Dream, which also works on sustainability issues. Not only did they resist buying mailing lists to send unsolicited mail, on multiple of occasions they have sent mailings that consisted of just a 1/2 sheet of paper, demonstrating that they are not only preaching sustainability, they are living it.

The alternative gift fair we've had in Richmond the past couple of years is based on the model provided by