The U.S. Postal Service has just issued a new set of social awareness stamps that depict energy conservation tips and other environmental actions. For sustainability purists that’s a bit of a head scratcher – after all, stamps go along with the whole junk mail/carbon emissions complex – but on second thought, the whole idea of Go Green stamps can make you take a step back and consider the importance of managing the carbon footprint of sustainability awareness initiatives.
Making Carbon to Reduce Carbon
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that goes for sustainability awareness. From local community recycling events, Scout projects and business promotions to new grade school curricula, college degrees and graduate studies, at almost every step of the way you’re going to involve mailings, posters, and a lot of coming and going, all of which generate carbon emissions.
The Postal Service provides a good illustration of offsetting awareness-related carbon emissions, and then some. Partly in response to a chronic budget squeeze, the Postal Service has been chopping away at its carbon footprint for years – apparently since 1899, when it tested its first electric vehicle. More recently, the Postal Service has ramped up its alternative fuel vehicle fleet, including electric vehicles. It has also installed the largest green roof in New York City, and this January it announced a new waste reduction and fuel conservation initiative, putting it on track to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent just a few years from now, by 2015.
Offsets for Educators
It’s been a commonplace for years that sustainability awareness programs have to walk the walk, which is why any well-planned initiative involves using recycled/recyclable materials, promoting low emission transportation, and taking any other steps needed to manage the program’s emissions. The Postal Service’s green stamps are an elegant reminder that there will always be some tension between communicating and emitting — but in terms of achieving serious goals, what really counts is an organization’s ability to adapt quickly to a new energy future.
Image: Go Green stamps courtesy USPS via prnewswire.com.
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