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Get the Facts Do Your Part

Doing things that are not listed

Status: Someday soon
Votes: 00
Page URL: /My-Part/Nature/
Hi guys,
How about having a blank for doing your part. Like today I'm doing a presentation and not handing out any handouts. Can you imagine all of the paper that is wasted? I should get points for that.
SixLinks Developers' response:
Hi Mary,

We'll soon have a way for people to make their own actions and guides, but they're not likely to be worth many points anytime soon.

The reason for this is that we've based the tasks and points on what research shows are the most important issues for people to change. Not handing out papers is great. It saves energy in the production of the paper, and potential methane releases if the papers end up in a landfill. However, those savings are very, very small when compared to eating less beef, or even to a low-flow showerhead.

For many years, we've been told that the way to be sustainable was to recycle, use less paper, and change our lightbulbs. All of those are still good things to do, but as a group, we need to do more, especially in the face of climate change. That recognition is really the core of this site. The world is a literally different place than it was 20, 30, or 100 years ago - and what we do about it must also be different.

So that's the long of it! Points for custom actions are either likely to be fixed at something small like 5 points or zero, and Make-Your-Own actions are coming someday soon!

Update (in response to question about what we took into account in our energy analysis):
The quick analysis we did was from an industry-wide energy intensity analysis. It's a very simplified way of looking at the issue, which is part of the reason why we would like to deal with new guides the way we do. A quick look tells us that overall, big picture, paper may not be as big of an issue as some of the other things we cover. But it is still important, and there may be actions people can take that make a large impact, which is why you will soon be able to make your own guides.

Those guides will only have 5 points or so to start, but if a lot of people vote that they think it should become a core guide, we will then do a much more in depth analysis and consider including it in the core section and making it worth more points. This allows us to update and improve our core guides without needing to review each new guide in depth as it's created. We can periodically sit down and look at a number of guides at once and do a proper analysis of each.

We would love to be able to do this with every proposed guide as it was made and assign it a reasonable number of points, but with the time it would take to do that, we wouldn't be able to get much else done on the site. So this is likely to be the system for a while.

So look for when you will be able to make your own guides and actions, and when you can, go write about what you're doing to move towards less paper-intense office. Yes, you'll only get a few points to start, but if a bunch of people think that that is a big action (as I imagine they will), we'll do a more in depth analysis and more points may be on the way. In the meantime, you can write a blog post about what you're doing or start a discussion on ways to green the workplace. Thanks for your input and the work you are doing with the site.


Steven Skoczen June 11, 2009
Another note: The other big reason custom action points are likely to be small is that as the site grows, there will be no way to verify how many points a custom action should have. To make sure the points for core tasks and helping out are still worth something, we simply have to custom actions to a small amount. If someone makes a great guide covering something missed in Your Part, we'll be adding those items in to the core.
Steven Skoczen June 11, 2009
As a quick follow-up, we just ran some quick numbers, and assuming an average household, you'd have to save 250 reams of paper a year (or about 125,000 pages!) to equal the energy savings from switching from a regular to low-flow showerhead.

(Details for mathy people:
- Assumes a household of 2.5 people, who take 10 minute showers daily, using a US national-average showerhead of 2.6 gpm, and reducing to a 1.6 gpm showerhead.
- We assume the water is heated from 60F to 100F.
- Paper energy usage is from a 1996 paper that found ~21MJ of energy to make $ 1 of paper product, and we assume that a ream of paper's about $5.
mary June 15, 2009
How are you factoring in the trees that are cut down? And rember not every business recycles paper.
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