Greener School Supplies

Over at Slate’s excellent Green Lantern column, I read about yet another of those tiny debates that green-minded people have (you may recall my razor question a while back) about which products are the most product choices:

As a new middle-school teacher, I’m facing a challenge I never thought about before: assigning a list of school supplies for my students. My colleagues tell me that there’s a real downside to wooden pencils, since it gives students an excuse to get up every few minutes and use the pencil sharpener. But am I being environmentally irresponsible by asking parents to buy plastic mechanical pencils?

This seems profoundly trivial for the average person, but I suppose a teacher generates a lot of pencil-related consumption over their career.

Speaking of green-minded, the David Suzuki Foundation’s blog pointed to this short YouTube video about cycling in Copenhagen. Bonus points for cute, cycling Danish girls.

One comment

  1. I think green-minded folks struggle with a number of these questions, particularly (as you clearly mention) in the long run. For example, as an instructor, for me, it would be better (potentially) to have all my students use their laptops. All that paper and notebooks where they take their notes go to a landfill in the end, so we may be saving both trees and landfill space.

    But wait a minute. What happens with all the energy said laptops consume? What happens AFTER my students’ laptops have stopped working? What if they also land on the landfill? Didn’t I just generate more negative environmental effects?

    These kind of questions are alwas baffling and puzzling. And you just inspired me to write something about it (probably not today’s posts, though!)

    All the best and I’ll see you when I get back to Vancouver.

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