Peak & Prairie
Rocky Mountain Chapter's
June / July 1998
compiled by Mary Romano, Office/Communications Manager
|June is Recycling Month! and the annual Colorado Recycles guide is coming! It's an excellent resource, listing where to take standard recyclables, as well as oddball things (like paint or batteries), plus where to buy recycled (to complete the cycle!) with statewide listings! It will be available on June 17th inside the Denver Post (scheduled date at press time). If you miss it, you can call our Chapter office or any CSU extension office to get a copy. For large quantities, or to confirm the publication date -- call Colorado Recycles at (303) 231-9972.|
Against Junk Mail
by Charlie Oriez, South Platte Group Chair
It is estimated that 70 billion pieces of junk mail were sent in the United States in 1997. 93% of those end up discarded unopened. To you, perhaps, junk mail represents a minor annoyance and a few envelopes in the trash or recycling bin every day. To our forests, it's 62 million trees cut down each year. Over 74,000 acres of trees just for catalogs. Pulp processing to produce the paper for junk mail requires 25 billion gallons of water. Well under 1% of junk mail gets recycled and in some landfills, it accounts for as much as 2% of our municipal solid waste stream.
What can you do to discourage junk mail? When you move, do NOT file a change of address form with the Postal Service (USPS). The USPS sells those change of address notices to mass marketers. Notify your creditors and friends directly with your new address.
The USPS can also be used as an unwitting ally in your fight against junk mail. Under the Federal Law 39 USC 3008, you have the right to have the USPS issue an order, to a junk mailer, to stop sending you mail and to delete your name from mailing lists. USPS Form 1500 is used to complain about pandering or obscene mail. To an environmentalist, nothing should be more obscene than cutting down 62 million trees annually for junk mail. The beauty of it is, the USPS is prohibited from reviewing the merits of your complaint because it is "obscene" in the "sole discretion of the recipient." So use Form 1500 to fight the obscenity of clear cuts!
When subscribing to a new magazine, or joining a new organization, always write on the application that you do not want your name sold or exchanged. With the Sierra Club, the easiest and fastest way to block the exchange of your name is to send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask to have your 'no exchange' flag set. Give them your name, address and membership number (the 8 digit number in the upper left hand corner of your mailing label). Or call the local office at (303) 861-8819 to process your request.
Use the same process to get off our telemarketing list. Most mailings for second mortgages and credit cards come from prospect lists sold by the credit reporting agencies. Half of these come from lists sold by Experian (formerly TRW). Experian is willing remove your name from prospect lists. Call them at (800) 353-0809. Want to do more? The Club has an information packet available that includes handy postcards. Mail $1 to cover printing and postage to: Sierra Club/Junkmail, 1410 Grant B-205, Denver, 80203. In coming months, watch our Rocky Mountain Chapter web page at http://www.rmc.sierraclub.org/site/ for a list of resources. Two of my personal favorites are http://www.junkbusters.org and http://private-citizen.com. Fred Elbel, South Platte Group Vice Chair, has compiled his own list of junk mail resources at: http://www.ecofuture.org/ecofuture/jnkmail.html. Please! Stop junk mail! 62 million trees a year need your help!
|An Easy Step To Reduce Junk Mail By About 70%: Save your address labels. Compile one of every single variation of your name and address that comes to your mailbox, including any misspellings. Then mail this sheet with the following request "I'd like to register for Mail Preference Service. I'm including all variations on name and address that come to this household. If you wish, add: "I'd also like to register for Telephone Preference Service. I'm including all telephone numbers for this household. Mail it to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008.|
from Affluenza -- Sequel to Popular PBS Special Coming to a TV
by Mary Romano, RMC Office Manager
Declare your independence from Stuff! That's the message in a new primetime special, Escape from Affluenza, coming this Independence Day week on PBS. The one hour program is a sequel to last fall's hit special, Affluenza, which introduced Americans to the epidemic of the same name. Escape from Affluenza will air Tuesday, July 7th (check local listings for time).
"Affluenza" is the name coined for the epidemic of the rampant consumerism and materialism ailing Americans. Its symptoms include record levels of personal debt and bankruptcy, fractured families, chronic stress and overwork. To help viewers test themselves for Affluenza, PBS will rebroadcast the original show, Affluenza, Thursday, July 2nd (check local listings).
Then, be sure to tune in to Escape from Affluenza, Tuesday, July 7th, to see how even advanced cases of this purse- and planet-pilfering plague are being cured. Like its prequel, Escape from Affluenza provides big spoonfuls of humor to make the medicine go down easily. The prognosis for Affluenza sufferers is hopeful, as we learn in the many inspiring examples, presented in Escape from Affluenza. Among them:
Ron Simons of Seattle, who, after finding wealth empty in itself, now spends time as a Big Brother, helping people with AIDS and reading to the blind, and is living his dream of being a successful actor.
Dick and Jeanne Roy of Portland, Oregon, volunteer full-time, through the rapidly-growing Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) which they founded, teaching the secrets of reducing debt, waste, stress and resource exhaustion. [Editor's note: NWEI produced the book that we use in our local Voluntary Simplicity discussion circles, see below.]
Evy McDonald, RN once had a serious case of Affluenza and is now a frugality expert. Viewers' and teachers' guides as well as more information will be available on the Escape from Affluenza Web site to be launched in June 1998 on PBS Online at www.pbs.org/affluenza.
Simplicity: Your Cure for Affluenza
by Mary Romano
More discussion groups for Voluntary Simplicity are forming every week. There are minimal costs for reading materials. Each group meets once a week, for eight weeks. The dates and times are determined by each group. If you are interested in joining a group, please Call Mary Romano at our Chapter office: (303) 861-8819 for more information.
What is simplicity all about, anyway? This approach to living calls into question our society's tendency to equate money and material possessions with the good life. Advocates of Voluntary Simplicity reject the notion that our life goal should be to amass as much material wealth and prestigious accomplishments as possible. Their lifestyles tend to involve patterns of working less, wanting less and spending less.
This way of life cannot be strictly defined; rather it is self-defined. It means different things to different people. You will find people living simply in large cities, rural areas and everywhere between. Simplicity involves living more consciously and lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life. Some of the values that are important to those who embrace this way of life include:
Eliminating excess possessions and activities that add physical and mental clutter to our lives, or are incompatible with our highest values.
Limiting consumption of material goods to that which is truly needed or valued.
Living in ways that preserve the earth's resources; focusing on items that have the least impact, are durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing
Recycling and pre-cycling (avoiding purchases that are wasteful of the earth's resources).
Engaging in meaningful, satisfying work that makes a contribution to the community.
Compassion for poor and disadvantaged people. Making financial contributions or volunteering when possible.
Investing the time and energy necessary to develop close, rewarding relationships.
Enjoying nature. Feeling the connection between nature and ourselves.
Exploring our spiritual selves, through meditation, journal writing, or yoga.
Learning to live in the present and enjoy the everyday wonders.
Taking care of our bodies by eating a diet rich in healthy, unprocessed foods, with little or no meat.
Regular exercise. Engaging in activities which enhance our awareness of our bodies.
Becoming self-reliant in our daily needs, such as repairing our possessions and home, or exchanging services with others.
Focusing on alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling and public transportation.