Sunday, February 8, 2009

Green Team

Like the Mother Earth ship calling me home, I am now on my employer’s Green Team! I had no idea this existed, although I had dreamed about greening up the hospital on a large scale. And now I’m working with co-workers who share my passion for saving our planet…and our office!

The Team’s first mission is to plan a green table display for Education Day. We decided on three sections: 1) What the hospital is already doing; 2) How employees can green their office; and 3) What they can do on your own. I volunteered to head up the second area since I had already implemented a green program for my department.

As I walked back to my office, I bumped into one of my co-workers. She was carrying a paper cup. My eyes got wide. She looked away and said, “I know, I know.”

Then I walked into the kitchen and looked in the trash. Paper! I quickly dove into the trashcan and pulled out what I could. I was caught in the act by another co-worker who flashed a look as if to say “she’s lost it.” Then I stood up and hit my head on the cabinet. This was not looking good.

How could I head up the “green your office” sub-committee if my own efforts were failing? I had already bragged to The Team. I told them how I rewarded those doing green deeds with reusable shopping bags. The Team loved it! And now I was crashing and burning.

I had a vision of The Team making a surprise site visit…a tour of my so-called green office while, in slow motion, my co-workers rolled up clean sheets of paper and threw them away. “Noooo!” I heard myself shouting in a creepy slo-mo voice as I got pelted with paper.

How could this happen?

Just then, I noticed that our box for can recycling was full. Not a complete disaster. And my friend came into the pantry and filled up a ceramic mug with water. She even pointed to her mug and said, “This is because of you, you know.”

I looked around and made sure there was nothing to hit my head on. “Thanks,” I said. “I know, I know.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Paper Bowl XLIII

"All that paper!" I blurted out as twenty tons of confetti showered the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans as they celebrated their non-green victory at the Super Bowl.

This wasn't the first time I've said this.  At Cirque de Soleil's latest production, Wintuk, I watched in dismay as the Canadian circus created winter by blanketing the audience with tissue paper snowflakes.

"I'm pretty sure they recycle this," my friend told me.  I was pretty sure they didn't.  I watched through the faux blizzard as kids and adults grabbed paper flakes as a souvenir.  (Were no two really alike?)  What was this?  Couldn't they buy a t-shirt like everybody else?  

I came home that night, took off my jacket and about 20 "souvenirs" poured out of me.  That's not counting the ones I found on the steps of my apartment building the next day.  At least those got recycled.

Spamalot was another offender.  Somehow you expect better from Monty Python.  But instead of a killer rabbit or a giant foot coming into the audience at the end, there were more paper souvenirs.  Bad enough that they celebrate lumberjacks in The Lumberjack Song.  But this?  

Come on, people!  Do we still not get that we need to start saving trees?  Is falling tissue paper really the symbol we need for celebration?  Can we just scream a lot?  We've done away with ticker tape at parades and rice at weddings.  Why not confetti?

I admit I was rooting for the Cardinals, but I still offer congratulations to the Steelers.  I can only hope that when you return home with your sixth Vince Lombardi trophy, Pittsburgh has the good sense to shower you with something biodegradable.