This posting was born with the underside of a Stonyfield Yogurt foil cover. But if you bear with me and read the posting, it will fling you far into the future, plant you pleasingly in the past, exit you to Egypt, and forward you to the fetching forest.
I was rinsing it off to recycle it, and I noticed that it had some statistics on trees, paper, and mail. It also had a link to a site, 41pounds.org, which I’ll get to later.
The premise of the yogurt cover was that we are being buried under junk mail (at least in the US, but I believe it’s a somewhat global problem – would like to hear from our worldwide readers about that). That triggered a memory of a fantastic book I read many years ago called “Motel of the Mysteries” by David Macaulay. Below is a blurb from the publisher:
It is the year 4022; all of the ancient country of Usa has been buried under many feet of detritus from a catastrophe that occurred back in 1985. Imagine, then, the excitement that Howard Carson, an amateur archeologist at best, experienced when in crossing the perimeter of an abandoned excavation site he felt the ground give way beneath him and found himself at the bottom of a shaft, which, judging from the DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging from an archaic doorknob, was clearly the entrance to a still-sealed burial chamber. Carsonâ€™s incredible discoveries, including the remains of two bodies, one of then on a ceremonial bed facing an altar that appeared to be a means of communicating with the Gods and the other lying in a porcelain sarcophagus in the Inner Chamber, permitted him to piece together the whole fabric of that extraordinary civilization.
The premise of this book is that the entire human civilization is buried under tons and tons of junk mail due to an accidental reduction in third-class mailing rates worldwide. We devolve by many centuries. Then, a couple of thousand years later, as humankind advances back up to, say 1815 technology or so, they start to dig and find our 1985 world in the form of ruins – and make all kinds of funny and incorrect conculusions from the artificats we left behind. For example, in excavating a motel (the “Toot-n-come on in” hotel – a play on words of Tutankhamen) they deduce that we are a society that worships a box with a glass tube (a TV set) because all of the rooms are identical with the furniture and beds facing this ‘holy object’. It’s quite hysterical. Basically it’s Macaulay poking fun at archeologists, and our deductions on Egyptian ruins – maybe they’re all just as wrong as these. It’s actually a really fun book, mainly pictures, so even senior managers will understand it.
Now back to the yogurt cover. I took the inspiration from Stonyfield Farms and visited 41pounds.org and it is a (non-profit) site that promotes the reduction in junk mail, offering a service which will take you off of mailing lists and promising a tremendous reduction in your junk mail, but not only that, they promise:
Time â€” No credit card offers to shred or unwanted catalogs.
Trees â€” Keep 100+ million trees in forests, cooling the planet.
Water â€” Protect 28 billion gallons of clean water.
Climate â€” Junk mail produces more C02 than 9 million cars.
Planet â€” We donate to your favorite charity when you sign up.
So, we encourage you to visit 41pounds.org and check out their service. You may not only reduce junk mail, you’ll prevent future archeologists from misinterpreting our whole global society!