Striving for a greener UOP

Today I had the opportunity to attend a talk on Parliament Hill given by Dr. Jane Goodall, the environmental advocate who has inspired millions with her work on Chimpanzees in the Tanzanian jungle.

It was a great chance for me to see a successful and influential woman who I have admired since I was a little girl. At 76, she is a slight woman whose kind face and quiet smile has earned the trust and respect of many, chimpanzee and human alike.

I always walk out of environmental talks feeling this odd mix of futility and desire to do more. I find myself taking a hard look at the way I live and cataloguing the things that I do to help the environment against the things that I know I have issues with. At the press, we see both as well. Here’s my mental list:


  • Let’s face it – we’re paper users! (We print books, make photocopies, send faxes, use post-its, paper towels etc…)
  • We’re high energy consumers (9 computers, 3 printers, 1 photocopier, a microwave, a fridge, an old energy inefficient building…)
  • Too often, we cannot afford to print on environmentally friendly papers
  • We don’t use a compost bin


  • All UOP staff either takes transit or walks to work
  • We recycle!
  • We have low print runs on our books
  • We use print-on-demand when possible
  • Instead of buying new, we use recycled furniture
  • We print double-sided documents
  • We take part in Earth-Hour

I suppose that the consolation here is that at the moment, the list of positives is longer than the list of negatives. Hopefully, one overriding positive will put us over the edge and into the green; our willingness to spread the word about climate change and the environmental impacts of the average Canadian lifestyle, and work for positive change within our community.

But, I may also put up a towel rack in the bathroom over the weekend…

Note: Our upcoming title Climate, Culture, Change by Timothy B. Leduc will hitting bookstores in 2011.

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