Sustainability | Ecotrope

Go Green stamps: Sending eco-prompts by mail

Ecotrope | Dec. 28, 2011 12:01 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:33 p.m.

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I never buy stamps anymore. Probably because I never use them anymore. But I finally had to restock today and got stuck waiting in line behind a guy who had to mail three large packages overseas. As the excruciating 20 minutes ticked by, I exhausted every shred of interesting reading material in the room. And I found this:

Forget the frilly stamps that offer love and merriment. With Go Green stamps you can tell addressees what to do with their food scraps and wet laundry. (I cropped a few out of the photo above, including: Use public transportation, use efficient light bulbs, adjust the thermostat, and maintain tire pressure) I just noticed that they're also "forever" stamps, so the text reads "ride a bike ... forever"

Forget the frilly stamps that offer love and merriment. With Go Green stamps you can tell addressees what to do with their food scraps and wet laundry. (I cropped a few out of the photo above, including: Use public transportation, use efficient light bulbs, adjust the thermostat, and maintain tire pressure) I just noticed that they're also "forever" stamps, so the text reads "ride a bike … forever"

I’m late on the uptake here. The Go Green stamps were released in April for Earth Day, and they include an empowering message on the back that begins “Big environment. Big issues. Little you.” They’re meant to be educational reference material. A quick reminder that what we do every day can have a positive impact on the environment.

The stamps were designed by a San Franciscan artist Eli Noyes, who told the San Francisco Chronicle that he based them on his own lifestyle in Noe Valley, where he and his wife grow veggies next to their worm bin and generate clean energy with rooftop solar panels. As Noyes told The Chronicle:

“I’m a San Franciscan - I go to the farmers’ market. OK, farmers’ market stamp. I compost. Compost stamp. … Stamps are gentle, subliminal, fundamentally political art. They’re also immensely fun.”

In context, the stamps are a fun and friendly list of ways to live green. But I can’t help but wonder how the Midwestern recipients of my letters are going to respond to the subliminal eco-commands affixed to their mail. Happy New Year, Poppy! Now, go adjust your thermostat … forever. Maybe I’ll follow up in a week or two and see if they’re following orders.

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