Do you ever aspire to great and noble tasks? Then you share something in common with Helen Keller. She said, “I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
Environmental change can be like that. Many people doing the tiny things can have a big impact. And our Mother Earth can use some big positive impacts these days. So all you mothers of the earth, here are some “humble tasks” you can do. Emphasis on CAN DO. These do not take a lot of time or money. Collectively they can bring tons of change, 62 billion tons of change-and more.
Sixty-two billion tons: that’s the total of junk mail that is mailed in the U.S. each year. A staggering 43 percent of that, or 27 billion tons, goes into landfills, unopened. One-hundred million trees are used each year to produce all that junk. How much of that comes to your mailbox? There are three things you can do to reduce your part of that waste:
• Visit the Direct Mail Association’s website and request to be taken off the mailing lists of its members. If there are companies you’d like to continue to get mail from, you can opt to stay on those lists. Although you’ll be asked for a credit card to verify your identity, you will not be charged a fee. Prefer to do it the old-fashioned way? You can print out a form and mail it in with $1 to cover processing. Sign up for “Mail Preference Services” at www.dmachoice.org.
• Inundated with catalogs? Sit down at the computer with the pile of catalogs you get. Go to www.catalogchoice.org. Create a login name and view a list of hundreds of catalogs. Check the ones you don’t want to get and enter your name and address as it appears on the label. In about 10 weeks the changes will take effect. As new catalogs come in the mail, you can add them to your list. There is also an option on the site for you to email info to friends about how they can use this service.
• Tired of all those credit card mailings? To stop pre-approved credit card offers, call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or go to www.optoutprescreen.com where you can opt out for either five years or permanently.
Do you have ways of saving trees in your neighborhood? Do you know someone who’s gotten rid of stuff in her life? Send me your thoughts about building community and making change to firstname.lastname@example.org.