Sometimes when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them my job is to Save the Planet. Yeah, it's a bit cheeky as far as a response goes, but whatever... and besides, shouldn't everybody's job be to save the planet. I mean after all, don't we all kind of need the planet to survive? I suppose my job is to find different ways to do things that ultimately help save the planet.
Consequently, part of my everyday job is to try to walk the talk of sustainability. You would be surprised how little things mean a lot to many people. How the smallest thing can cascade into something huge, or how the simplest message can help inspire others to dream big.
Earlier this month, my boss asked me to switch offices. The downside is I had to move, but the upshot was that I would have my very own office. My boss challenged me to try to make my new space as "paperless" as possible. He wanted me to try to model what a greener work space might look like.
This was of course great timing actually because a little while ago my office started to make a real concerted effort to reduce our printing. Of course there are numerous reasons why this makes sense in the office environment...
- Less paper, less trees cut down (kind of speaks for itself)
- Less printing, less cost (again, kind of speaks for itself)
- Less printing, less labour - Every time a piece of paper gets printed and discarded it means someone on campus has to collect that paper, bring it to a bin, move that bin to the University's recycling centre, send it from the recycling centre to the City's recycling centre, and finally go about the business of recycling that paper. That's a lot of work.
- Less printing, more security - This might not seem intuitive if you don't work in an office but the more things you print, the more unsecured information there is floating around out there. Think of all those confidential papers with private information just siting on desks or in unlocked filing cabinets.
- Less paper, more organization - I can't tell you how many times I have had to leaf back and forth through mountains of paper looking for information. It is one of the reasons I love PDFs so much... they have a search function!!!
- And of course my favourite... Less printing, more space - Paper takes up a lot of space in an office. I looked up the University office space standards and found that one third (yeah that's right 33%) of office space is dedicated to the holding, displaying, or storage of paper. The picture below demonstrates how everything serves paper in the typical uOttawa office.
As an aside, a lot of people have been asking me where I got the little green lamps on my desk.... yep you guessed it, the Free Store!
|small meeting table|
|student work space|
|plants instead of paper|
|more plants and more army men defending them|
|desk extension for coffee, tea, and hat|
|my desk, with an image inside an image|
|more student workspace|
|more plants and pictures|