Posted by Wendy Wercion on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 Under: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Today I used Skype for the very first time. It’s a video conference where you get to talk to another person from your computer--even if they live far away. Best yet, I interviewed Ted Wells, a very cool teacher in Brookline, MA. Ted is an environmentalist and even rides his bike to work! He comes from a family that really cares about the earth. His grandfather even made videos about pollution in the 1960’s! So, I guess it was Ted’s destiny to do something really big and important for the environment. That really big and important project has become a movement called The Catalog Cancelling Challenge!
Ted inspired his students at Park School to cancel unwanted catalogs in order to save lots of trees, water and energy. Ted said that it all started when he and a few other teachers and parents noticed teachers at his school were receiving 30-40 new catalogs a day. Some of the catalogs were being sent to teachers who had retired ten years ago and would never receive them. What a waste. Well, that was that, and the kids started cancelling catalogs. And they went crazy! It started out with 200 catalogs the first night! Ted built wooden bins to stack the cancelled catalogs, but he probably got splinters because the kids cancelled 4,125 in the first year! KEEP READING....
The results continue to be amazing. Ted told us that 6,750 kids in 19 states have cancelled 41,000 catalogs, saving 692 trees and 700,000 gallons of water, enough to overflow one Olympic swimming pool. (81,000 pools worth of water per year are used in making the 19 billion catalogs). I’m a competitive swimmer so that paints quite an image for me--that’s a lot of water! Ted’s goal is to cancel 100,000 catalogs. I know we can do it. My school did the Catalog Canceling Challenge last year. It was fun to make the calls and easy too. All I had to do was give the phone operator the numbers on the back of the catalog. You can find “how to” videos on our Video of the Day page.
Ted said he is most surprised by how the Catalog Canceling Challenge is catching on! It’s been a chain reaction—students, girl scouts and kids at home are joining this important cause. No wonder the operator wasn’t surprised when I called. I think they’re getting lots of calls from kids, which is good because 19 billion catalogs are mailed ever year. Did you know that only 2% are used to make a purchase? Some retailers might be annoyed by the catalog canceling movement, but that’s okay. I think good companies will realize they’ll earn more sales with eco-friendly practices.
Okay Neergs! This is where you come in. We need you to tell your teachers and friends at school about the Catalog Cancelling Challenge. Share this blog along with the links and videos attached! With the holidays right around the corner, November is a great month to launch this program at your school. And it keeps getting better—you can now earn a really cool “One Tree Club” Patch if you personally cancel 60 catalogs. Canceling 60 stops 360 from being made and saves one tree! Won’t that look great on your backpack or baseball cap? We think Ted Wells and Park School Rock! Spread the word and we will be heard!
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