Monday, November 11, 2019

Paved With Good Intentions

We do whatever we can to protect our environment. We're pretty conscious of the products we use. We recycle whatever is recyclable. We practice the mantra of Reduce Reuse Recycle. We make contributions to the organizations that work to help keep our planet livable and protect the other species we share it with. I write checks to Greenpeace, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, etc. We are absolutely glad that we can help, but we also regret it every time we open the mailbox and find stuff. And truly that's ALL THE TIME!! I simply don't understand how this is okay. The use of so much paper and stuff that has to be recycled. Our recycling bin is full of it every month. I'm not sure how to make them stop. We've gotten four beautiful 2020 calendars already. Those started coming in August. We give them to the grandkids who appreciate the photos and make lovely collages with them.

I'm going to continue to make contributions, but I think I'm going to start sending it with a note begging them to stop sending us stuff. Sure would be nice if they would just email us, wouldn't it? Those calendars sure are pretty though.


38 comments:

  1. It is frightening how much of this stuff conservation organisations send out each year, also how many of them have staff driving around in four-wheel drive vehicles.

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    1. John-- I am truly dismayed by the thoughtless disconnect between their intentions and their actions.

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  2. Depending on how much you want to be "known" by these organizations, maybe send your contributions via an anonymous money order.

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    1. Paul-- Interesting idea. I think I'll look into that. Thank you!

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  3. Same here. Some years ago I wrote to a every single organisation that send us stuff to please stop it and it did for about a year. But they are back. I get it that they need donations and need to reach people - my brother used to work for one of these and once explained how important these postal drives are to financial survival (very) but I don't buy that anymore. Look at all the online campaigns.
    We send back anything that comes wrapped in plastic. I used to even send it with a polite note but now I just scribble on it: return plastic to sender, and shove it in the next postbox.

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    1. Sabine-- I don't understand how they can keep sending out stuff like this and profess to be interested in helping save our planet. The landfills are full of their stuff. I like the idea of "Return to Sender." We have to convey our message any way we can.

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  4. You make a good point. we get up to half a dozen pieces of junk mail a day. One day a week we get a dozen or more fliers. Yes. thee's lots of stuff that doesn't have to be produced.

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    1. Red-- It is crazy in this day and age of electronic communication that these organizations continue to send out so much waste. I'm hoping we can make it stop.

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  5. I am so with you on this.I don't wanr or need address labels, calendars or notes cards. I'd much prefer the money to be used for conservation.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- I laughed just now thinking about all the address labels I have. It's truly insane. Yes, money for conservation AND NOTHING ELSE!

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  6. My mother used to give contributions to multiple organizations, including some right-wing political organizations. Giving to one right-wing solicitation brought lots of others. They came out of the woodwork like roaches. She used to pile her mail up on the counter without looking at it for several days, which gave me the chance to go through it. If there was a post-paid envelope from some of them, I would mail them a bunch of the other solicitations. Of course I knew it probably went to a company that provided fund raising services, and not to the organization itself. Unfortunately, refusing delivery ("return to sender") doesn't work for bulk mail. The USPS just dumps that into the trash.

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    1. Mark-- My mom used to make contributions all the time as well. All to left-wing and environmental stuff. It used to pile up like crazy. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe we should all start some kind of movement to make it stop. I want to support these causes, and I want them to spend all their money on that alone.

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  7. Surely they could use the money we send to better use than mailing out useless, unasked for gifts. Maybe if we all just returned the items, they would get the hint.

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    1. Patti-- I'm beginning to think about a way to convey this discontent to them. I think it must be time. Enough!!

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  8. Yes...I totally agree. The cards and mailing labels and calendars and notepads...it's all just too much. And, I get these from charities that I've never even given to. It's overwhelming and sad that they use their funds that way, to get more funds. It doesn't work on me, it must work on other people. sigh.

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    1. Dee-- I think you're right, it must work on other people. I'm good for contributing once a year, but I don't need a reminder, a notepad, a bunch of return address labels or anything else every month. Time to figure out how to make this stop.

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  9. I try not to see it as a losing battle. We can only do our part diligently. The young people in my life give me great hope. For them, protecting our environment is so much a way of life they don't even think about it. I confess I have to think about it every moment so as not to unconsciously do damage.

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    1. 37paddington-- I'm absolutely in agreement with all the work that is being done by these organizations. I'm just tired of the non-stop requests for more $ and all the paper and plastic we have to recycle because of it.

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  10. I think that organizations founded upon conservation and saving our planet would be especially diligent about not flooding the planet with more paper and plastic. Alas, this is - apparently - not the case! Any magazines I subscribe to are now sent digitally, which is great!

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    1. Tara-- One would think that organizations like these would practice what they preach. I wish they would go digital and not waste these dollars on stuff to send us asking for me. Crazy!

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  11. I agree, Robin, that the monies could be better spent for other things. One way to make organization stop is to contact them directly and ask not to receive calendars, notepads and similar items. I have done this and it's worked, but may take repeated efforts.

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    1. Beatrice-- I did actually make contact with one of these organizations and asked them to stop sending me so much stuff and to contact me via email. I stopped getting stuff, and I have never received an email either. Not a particularly good business model.

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  12. It was an omen. I searched through my bookshelves and - yes! - there it was: a hardback version of The Dharma Bums. Unread, alas. Inherited from my mother's equally voluminous collection of books when she died. Perhaps if I occasionally drop in here a sense of obligation may develop; after all these years (it was published in 1958) I may re-try Kerouac's rather florid prose.

    But there is another link and that's California. Two or three days of perfection, set in amber, still sharp and clear after nearly sixty years.

    I was working for a publishing company (mainly magazines) in Pittsburgh. An MS (nothing fancy, about valve technology) had lingered in the hands of an elderly guy who was never going to bring it to completion. I was given a great box (a tea-chest we'd call it here in the UK) full of well-thumbed typescript and a ragbag selection of images and told to make it ready for the printer. Which I did.

    I think the company proprietor had almost lost hope and was astonished. The book's author lived in a suburb of San Francisco and the final stage involved checking the much-revised MS, and the pix, with him. I was told to fly out to SF with my wife, hire a car, take my time and see something of the state, finish the job.

    Journalism, my life up to then and subsequently up to retirement, is a sordid trade. The rewards are unrecognisable to the outside world; little happens that is positive.

    Until we moved into our room at a hotel on El Camino Real. Jeepers! I'm a wordsmith and here I was taking a shower on the King's Highway. We only did the touristy things. Ate abalone on Fisherman's Wharf (you could do it then). Dangerously tasted wine at a series of buildings like haciendas in the vineyards. Almost ran out of gas among the redwoods. Drove out of the city on the Golden Gate, revelling in the fact that you only had to pay the toll in the other direction; SF was so sniffy we loved it. Walked through Chinatown and saw this in a crummy restaurant "Bowl of gristle. 25 cents." Descended that curious zig-zag path/street.

    Pleased to meet you on Tone Deaf. When I'm back here with The Dharma Bums you'll know why. Trying to give that lump of amber a bit more polish.

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    1. Roderick-- Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love your story about your short time in San Francisco. We live about 430 km north of the city now, past the wine country and the winding roads through the redwoods. I wish I could remember why we called the blog "The New Dharma Bums." We started the blog late 2004. We had just retired and were remembering our younger selves when we were both fans of the Beat Generation of writers. I had once been the volunteer coordinator for the Kerouac Conference in Boulder, Colorado, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the publication of On The Road. That was back in 1982. I did an apprenticeship with Allen Ginsberg when I fantasized about writing poetry. Oh those were the days. Now we just live in our small college town on the far north coast of California. Two relics of a time when we still dreamed of better days.

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  13. We get an INSANE amount of paper junk mail. My paper recycling bin is right outside my garage door, and I go to the mailbox, get the mail, and about 98% of it goes right into the bin. It's madness. I hope you have success in stopping some of yours. It's a good idea to contact the companies to get them to stop. I often wonder how much money they waste on mailers.

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    1. Sharon-- It is such an interesting thing to contemplate the waste of paper, energy, and money that goes into these mailers. Then I think about our postal system, how most of the time what they deliver would be called spam mail in our email accounts.

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  14. I don't get much physical mail from the organizations I give to. I think there are two reasons for that: I give online, and I only give to local, rather than national, organizations. Were a charity to start sending me labels and tote bags and nickels taped to the beg letter, I simply wouldn't give to them anymore. The local groups simply don't do that, so it's not a concern.

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    1. CCorax-- The only reason I don't give money on line is that I seriously try to avoid giving out our credit card info. Maybe I should be a bit more trusting. I should probably start giving locally as well. I do love Greenpeace though.

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  15. You might try writing "Deceased" on some of the mail you return to the sender.

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    1. Catalyst-- Sounds like a good idea. I might try that.

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  16. Much like Corax, I do most of my giving "online" - either through my online bank account or paypal -- so no one has my street or mailing address. I've been thinking a bit about why you get so much mail from organizations. It used to be that way in Canada too, but I have to say that's greatly diminished. I believe I heard that the Canadian government no longer gives the big break to non-profits for second class postage. Years ago, I used to do magazines for two agricultural organizations and took care of the mailing out of them as well as the editing, etc.. I was just blown away the first time I took about 800 magazines to be mailed to members and the bill was something like 35 bucks! I don't think it's cheap like that in Canada anymore, so that's probably slowed the flow of printed promotional stuff.

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    1. bev-- You make me want to try it the online way. I had forgotten all about the second and third class postage and how easy the postal service makes it for organizations to do this. It's a little feedback loop.

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    2. I find online giving fairly easy and I tend to give to various things one time instead of repeatedly. I have an amount I usually give to "something" each month and I just decide as I hear of some cause that I think should be getting some financial help. Recently, it was helping the woman who was riding her mobility scooter from NS to Ottawa to speak to the fishery department about the salmon and the rivers here in NS. I decided that was a better cause than just about anything else I could think of, so I sent money using my online banking. I've sort of become this eccentric giver who just sees something that I think is worthwhile, and that's the thing I give to for that month. This past summer, I kicked in some money to help a nature organization buy some land that will become a permanent nature reserve. I bought it in memory of Don and now it's nice to think that about a half acre of pristine wilderness is preserved. He would have liked that.

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    3. bev-- I love that you contributed to an organization to buy land for a nature preserve. And most especially love that it's in Don's name. Truly lovely.

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  17. Do you have an online account with any of these organizations? You might be able to choose a "paperless" membership option, and they'll contact you via e-mail from here on out. Or you could call them and ask for the same option.

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    1. Steve-- I don't have any online accounts with any of them, but that's a good idea that I think I will pursue. I did communicate with Environmental Defense Fund once and they stopped mailing me stuff.

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  18. Check whether you can receive this stuff on line. We do this almost exclusively now.

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    1. David-- Yes, I am inspired by the comments here to change how we interact with these good-intentioned organizations.

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