Monday, September 24, 2012

Does being eco-friendly mean giving up sentimentality?

Think about that title for a moment.

What is more important to most? Luxury or the distant, vague future?

Being eco-friendly often means something smaller, less flashy. Doing more to do less. It means giving up the gas-guzzler BMW in turn for the often mocked Prius. It means reading books electronically instead of getting a hard copy. It means sending emails instead of writing letters. It means instead of printing, reading from the computer and turning in assignments through email.

People like to have hard copies. As teenagers, many of us feel more comfortable turning in college applications as a hard copy as opposed to online. We are more comfortable buying hard copies of study guides from Barnes&Noble rather than using an uploaded PDF. We like to have material things.

But what happens when having material things means we are just becoming a giant, wasteful society? If you can print on the back and the ink bleeds through the paper, many people are likely to just throw the paper away instead of dealing with it. We have become used to having high standards and always having those high standards be met.

What happens when having high standards is not living sustainably? Because, the truth is, it isn't. Trees are a finite source, as is paper. Many schools now have a teacher limit for how many boxes of paper they can use throughout the year. As supply decreases, price increases but we are still demanding the same amounts--yet, we don't (and we very soon won't at all) have enough resources to produce what we want.

So, ask yourself.

What's more important? Having a hard copy that you're going to throw away anyways? Or creating a future for you, for your children?