Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If they say that is "going green" then I say "goodbye polar bears"

Whenever I read about a library conference that goes green by banning presentation handouts, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry or to release tanks of methane into the auditoriums.

Honestly, how could grown adults act so self-congratulatory over such a insanely pathetic and inane action when compared to the scale of the environmental problems that are at hand.

Oh yeah, we just happen to be a profession that BUYS ENTIRE BOOKS for our communities. Stop us before we kill again!


Anonymous said...

I do agree that sometimes people's vained efforts can seem a bit melodramatic sometimes. But props for trying, right? I think every effort that people put forth, no matter how small should be applauded. It may seem silly sometimes, but it's the thought that counts. I also recognize that we are dealing with worldwide environmental problems, and as much as I try to live as green as possible, I too am guilty of minor efforts in comparison to larger scale efforts that I could be doing.

I've done things like switching out the lightbulbs in my apt and switching to bioheat. Has anyone ever heard of it, or has switched to it? I want to start taking initiative in turning my home into a greener household, one way I have started is by switching out all my lightbulbs in my home to energy efficient lightbulbs. And I am also seriously considering switching over to bioheat as an alternative to regular oilheat. The thing that I love the most about it is that it’s completely clean burning, and is comprised of a b5 blend of oils which are derived from natural plant and vegetable sustainable resources such as corn, hemp, and avocados just to name a few. If you all want more information on how bioheat works, just go on to I work with NORA to bring this info to you all!

Unknown said...

Bioheat is not without its critics, and biofuels in general have their own environmental consequences that need to be factored in. The Royal Society did a very interesting and accessible policy document on biofuels that pointed out that such approaches must address the environmental and economic aspects of the complete cycle - growth of the plant, transport to the refinery, the refining process itself, wastes produced, etc. At some level, the environmental crisis is a crisis of information that reaches into almost every aspect of our actions on our planet, and some very scary things are happening with how that information is being controlled and disseminated. Small steps are definitely helpful, and going green is a solid meme, but I wonder if there is a need for the library community to step up in an even more major way to help address the information gaps and the complexity of the content. I suggested this topic for the One Big Library gathering without a good idea of how it could be tackled but this is an important discussion and needs more airplay. I was particularly struck by Al Gore's count of questions asked to the U.S. Presidential candidates on the environment in the video link, this is astounding given the mess we are in.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michelle for your comments. Obviously I'm not "going green" but I am trying to do my small part. My handouts are 9 pages * 20 people of which 1/2 probably end up in the trash - why contribute to waste?

Books on the other hand are not (in theory) ending up in the trash - they're actually being used! My complaint is that people are throwing out my handouts after leaving the class - which I know is what I've done many times over the years.

Mita said...

Hmm... perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my post. Let me state that I make absolutely no complaint with individuals making changes - both large and small - in their lives to reduce their impact on the environment.

What made me aghast was the ALA created a press release to announce how "green" it was for banning handouts. If this is just a 'first step' to a greener conference, where are the press releases announcing all the all the subsequent steps?

I have strong suspicions that banning handouts because it is green is disingenuous. I think conferences like the ALA doesn't want to bother with the associated labour and responsibility of distributing handouts.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the ALA (and the other library conferences that have banned handouts) have asked all the vendors and sponsors not to give out handouts and that the conference organizers have changed their own practices to significantly reduce the amount paper that they produce and distribute themselves.

Time will tell.