Monday, October 17, 2005

The other cost of conservation.

Rising costs in heat, electricity, gasoline and other fossil fuels have made it easier to take stock in the conservation of resources. As other resources such as water, timber and even oxygen become more scarce, their costs will rise, and the inclination to ‘waste not, want not’ will return even more. This is not really a positive model, in that it only strengthens the divide betweens the haves and have-nots,

But there is another cost. Time. It is something I have seen more and more, and it seems to be working wonders. In a fast-paced, time-starved, disposable-inclined culture, we have grown to expect our excesses instantaneously. But there are a few small inventions and concepts out there, that although seem to make little difference in the overall scheme of things, do offer an interesting model for responsible use of resources based upon a cost to our time.

Paper towel dispensers – You have all seen them, at least if you live in Vancouver, the slow moving, infa-red scanning machine that puts out one measly 12” X 12” piece of paper for you to dry your hands with. Admittedly, I was a 3-4 sheet user before, but that wait has really slowed me down. What used to infuriate me, made me eventually realize that it is possible to dry your hands with one piece of disposable towel.

Infa-red lights and water sensors – when you walk into the room, the lights turn on, when you stick your hands under the tap, they start. Brilliant! All that jumping around and clapping makes for some good spontaneous exercise as well.

Car pool lanes – if you have extra people in your car, you move at the speed limit. Otherwise you must wait.

Preferential parking for hybrid cars – there are always spots available, and if you actually pay less in Vancouver.

Can you think of any other ways that time can be used as a deterrent for overuse?


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