Ok, I admit it. I'm killing trees, wasting energy, and polluting water.
Well, maybe not me directly. But my decidedly not green habit — ok, let's call it addiction — to The New York Times, Fast Company, Natural Home, Outside, Sierra, Glamour, and Ladies Home Journal puts me squarely in the box labeled "PAPER WASTER."
Why do I do it? Why get actual physical editions of publications I could easily read on-line with nary a twig cut or an iota of CO2 generated?
First and foremost, I do it for the content. Every day, I open the New York Times to some news or feature I never would have thought to explore myself. To slake my thirst for green business models, Fast Company's frequent profiles of successful eco entrepreneurs keep me inspired; plus, the regular "Made to Stick" column by the Heath brothers does a yeoman's job of reminding me to keep things simple and surprising. I live vicariously through the scrumptious pages of Natural Home; maybe I won't be installing an environmentally-friendly counter made of recycled glass in my kitchen any time soon, but I love fantasizing about the possibilities.
I subscribe to Outside because the writing is so darn good (and I'm an avid hiker, biker, white water rafter, and eco-traveler). Plus, it's something I can share with my very adventurous twenty-something son. I subscribe to Glamour because it's something I can share with my very fashion-conscious college-age daughter (stereotypes? yes…sigh). And honestly, it reminds me there are other options out there besides granny underpants. Flipping through Glamour also keeps me focused on how much work we still need to do to green the clothing industry, especially for business and professional women. Then it's back to Sierra, which not only connects me to the organization I served as national Director of Communications early in my career; it keeps me up to date on environmental policy and green consumer news. And truth be told, the issue that highlights Sierra Club's national and international outings gets me daydreaming about backpacking for hours on end.
As for Ladies Home Journal? My mission is to help women use their marketplace clout to protect themselves, their families, and the planet. How better to get a reality check than by perusing a publication that reaches millions of women every month, often with messages that are very clearly the opposite of mine?
Apart from the joy I get reading great content, I should probably cop to the visceral pleasure I feel when I read words printed on paper. After ten or so hours sitting at a computer, I need to switch off. I can take the newspaper or magazine with me to my back porch, my window seat, or my bed, and just…relax. I know, the Kindle is portable, too. But it's still electronic. And pressing the forward button on an illuminated book box is just not the same as turning a page.
Of course, there are loads of publications I read on-line, along with dozens of blogs and websites. And you can be sure I try to be as eco friendly as possible with the publications I do receive, recycling rather than throwing them away or passing copies along to neighbors and friends. I support organizations that plant trees, and I try to plant at least one tree myself every Earth Day.
Is this enough? Maybe, maybe not. But for the moment, it will have to do, even if I do feel just a little bit guilty every time one of my favorite pubs shows up on my doorstep. Fortunately, as the saying goes, misery loves company. I've got a lot of company this month, as the rest of the bloggers in the Green Moms Carnival reveal their 'sins' and unload their guilt, too. Enjoy – and please, let me know:
What's your green guilty pleasure?