Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Environmentalism as bad work ethic

Sometimes, two belief systems get in the way of each other. I try to make a slightly smaller impact on the environment. I also try to get some work done. But there are many ways that I've chosen to do a little bit to be less of a energy/resource glutton that have probably gotten me into a bit of trouble.
To wit:
  • Letting students turn essays and poems in on Vista to save paper: This is fine in the abstract but students take the electronic deadline as a negotiable one. And I care and tell them they'll lose points for turning in late but if everyone does it, then the points don't really take or matter in the end anyway. And since I grade/comment the day before class, I don't care as much as I should.
  • Speaking of grading or commenting: I grade/comment electronically to save paper. This means I give great, long narrative commentary but not so much of the grammar/proofreading variety. I will do "Track changes" on larger documents but that's only so helpful.
  • My own writing: I revise online. Sometimes I'll print it out to great guilt. In revising this last project, I printed twice and revised from there. Perhaps this will appease the publishing gods.
  • I try not to drive. So I go to campus less often than I would if I lived across the street. I go in twice as much here as I did in GR though, probably because campus is twice as close.
  • Clean house: I hate to use paper towels. Sometimes, that's all that works. If I could use a paper towel each time I had to clean up a tiny spill, well, my table wouldn't look like this.
  • Dog: She probably would be a lot thinner if I didn't try to save water by letting her be the pre-recycling, pre-dishwasher cycle that she's become.
  • Yard: I'd try to grow some flowers or plants this summer if I didn't cringe at the water I'd need. However, we're planting wildflowers when the monsoons hit so it won't look exactly like a campground outside our house.
  • Alerts, newsletters, etc.: I think I might have a better outcome if I put notices in my grad students' boxes. But instead, I send email reminders weekly. I'm wasting electrons as much as I'm wasting my time, since I'm pretty sure students have come to ignore my incessant emails.

I'm sure there are more instances but even if I find them, I'm not sure I'll reform. I pretend these little things make a difference.


Dr Write said...

I am just now in the process of commenting on student drafts. Agreed: they do think of the electronic deadline as WAY more negotiable than the in person, hard copy deadline.
And: I canceled class on Thursday so I don't have to drive. I'm saving the Earth.

Nik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nik said...

Oh you are my role model! I would love to cancel class on Thursday to save the planet. Perhaps I can see what can be done. Together, you and I will save the world.

Where's my disc? said...

I just put a tent up in the backyard. Campground?

Lisa B. said...

Cancelling class is the ultimate green practice. Well done!

Steve Fellner said...

Which is more important. Saving paper or helping students write more effectively.

Nik said...

Do I have to use paper to teach them to write more effectively? I mean, I send them pages of comments. What I recall from my undergrad days is that I read the end comments but not so much the internal ones. And I do track changes. So there. Now I'm waiting a whole 'nother day to buy your book.

Steve Fellner said...

Where is your new post?

You must keep up with me.

3X a week.

Anything more is extra, doesn't count toward the next one.

Nik said...

Oh. A Challenge! I like it. And yet....we'll see. I'm still making peaches.