We just celebrated Earth Day and Earth Hour. I am for these two concepts to try and save the environment. A lot of organizations are going green and i had an opportunity to see first hand how one organization is going green and the double standards within that organization in implementing this.
Let me recount my experience. There were no paper/plastic cups at the coffee/tea/cold drink/water dispensers. When i looked around i found coffee mugs and then realised that we had to use those to drink anything. A very noble idea to save paper and the environment - but what about water. In a city like Hyderabad where water is a problem i was observing that each time someone drank from those mugs they would wash it and then again wash it after it has been drunk from. Now you might wonder why was it washed twice - the reason is the person who used the mug washed it because he used it. The person who was going to drink from that mug washed it because he did not know if the person who last used it washed it. So with the intention of saving paper are we wasting other resources.
Next we were to have a meeting to discuss a document. We were 4 of us in the meeting and since there was no projector/computer in the meeting room there were 4 color print outs of 20 pages each that were taken just for that meeting. I do not need to elaborate any further on the possible number of trees that must have gone into making those 80 pages for that 1 hour meeting. The meeting after ours too there were quite a few of them holding print outs which only shows that almost everyone that goes into that meeting room ends up taking print outs for the meeting. How can one save paper in this situation. Every conference room big or small should have a computer monitor/projector from which users should be able to remote desktop their own machine and open the document that is being discussed.
My point is it is important to go green and think in that way for all organizations. But there is no point implementing it in only certain aspects of the organization. Every function of the organization should be thought through and a unified approach implemented to truly go green. It is only when such a unified approach is implemeted with every member of the organization on board with what is being done and the effects of their efforts will such initiatives really be effective. Otherwise it is only on paper and words but not in implementation and real effect.
Another thing that I have noticed is that the more affluent the country/city/organization/individual the more environmentally damaging they are. But it is these affluent sections of society that do the most preaching about being green. The poorer sections of society anyway do not have the money to be environmentally damaging in a big way so there is no point really preaching to them. So it is the affluent members of society that should seriously introspect the way they live their lives and implement going green in their own little ways.