This post is part of the 21 Days to a Manlier Green series
Today, on your path towards a greener and manlier life, write a handwritten letter.
Long gone are the days of relying on letters to transmit messages. Technology and social media have provided us with ever-expanding ways to communicate with those around us.
But that type of communication feels cheap to me. It doesn’t stand up to the quality of a hand written letter.
The great men of history were letter writers and you should be too.
Taking the time to put pen to paper shows that you really care. A handwritten note or a card is going to have an exponential impact over an e-mail or text message. When you put a pen to paper, you take pause as the inked words feel so much more permanent.
Is Letter Writing Green?
The Manly Green hopes to be equal parts men’s lifestyle and green living blog. But, is letter writing greener than sending a digital message? Umm… as much as I can guess: no.
The environmental impact from writing a letter comes for a whole list of things:
- The production of the paper, envelope, and stamp – A mix of new and post-consumer paper products, made from trees.
- The production of your pen – which is likely a disposable pen that you’ll throw away once it is finished.
- The entire transport of your letter to its final destination.
The environmental impact from sending an e-mail:
- The energy used and related emissions required to run your computer or phone (and a minimal percentage of all the energy to make your computer or phone).
- A fraction of the energy and related emissions related to run the serve handling your e-mail.
I’m tempted to bust into a whole life-cycle-analysis and find the actual values, but those calculations would become very messy very quickly and almost no one would be interested.
You’ll just have to trust my guess.
Pen & Sword
So, if not the greener option, why opt for hand writing a letter? No matter the message you are trying to send, a hand written letter will be more impactful.
Closed a business deal? Send a letter.
After an interview? Send a letter.
Had someone do a favor for you? Send a letter.
Want to express your love to someone? Send a letter.
Show someone that they’re important to you? Send a letter.
Say ‘hi’ to a long-lost friend? Send a letter.
Make Your Letter Green
While letter writing may not be the greenest communication option, you can make it greener by using a hand written letter to send a ‘green’ message.
Write your congressman. Currently, across the U.S., state legislatures are in session. I guarantee you that there is a piece of legislation related to the environment that is being discussed, at some stage, right now. Or if not, maybe there is something that you feel passionate about, that you want to let your representative know about. They are, after all, supposed to be representing your interests (in theory).
Don’t know who is your legislator? At the state level, you will have to look it up on your individual state’s website. At the federal level, you can use these two resources:
ContactingTheCongress.org – Good place to find out who is your representative, their contact information, and what Committees they serve on, which will let you know if they are potentially working on an area of interest to you.
WhoIsMyRepresentative.com – Here, you can also find your representative’s contact info. Additionally, this site has and interesting comment section, much like a blog, where people have left comments under individual representative’s pages.
Don’t know what to write about?
There are likely several activist organizations working in your area. They will know what new pieces of legislation are be discussed and what are some of the more pressing issues. One good place to check is your state’s Sierra Club Chapter, which can then direct you to your local Sierra Club.
I recommend checking them out. Maybe you’ll be interested in their work and want to become involved in what they do.
Maybe you aren’t feeling the idea of writing a letter to your representative. That’s cool. I suggest, however, that you still take the time today to write a letter to someone. Let someone know that you care, that you took a moment to sit down and write them a letter.
“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” ― Lewis Carroll