“In short, not only are things not what they seem, they are not even what they are called!”
—Francisco de Quevedo, Spanish writer, born September 17, 1580
Instead of Just a-Wishin’
I was pleased to see that shopping online is more carbon-efficient by far than going to the store. I am, of course, extremely lazy, and the ability to “subscribe” to staple items as various as San Marzano Plum Tomatoes and Seventh Generation Paper Towels and have them show up at my door schlepped by someone other than myself gives me great pleasure.
My father, a very lazy man who got a lot done, believed that the lazy person’s way is the right way to work. The lazy person, according to my dad, will find better, more efficient solutions to problems than normals: people who like to bustle around and don’t try to save steps and cut corners. In my experience, he was right: certainly when you look at solving workflow problems, you save amazing amounts of time and effort by focusing on processes and critically examining each step for wasted work and mere busyness.
The old man would have loved Amazon’s Subscribe and Save service. RIP.
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Shopping Online Has a Better Carbon Footprint than Shopping in Stores
“…Why are brick-and-mortar stores so inefficient? It turns out that transporting people to the store to select something and then getting them back home again requires a lot of energy. You also have to consider that items sold in stores were distributed from a central warehouse. When you place an order online, that trip transforms from one to the store to one directly to your home. Plus, delivery services optimize their routes to waste the least amount of fuel.⁴ Everyday shoppers don’t think in that level of detail. Even if you combine trips, which many of us are terrible at doing, you’d have to buy a lot of stuff per trip to equal the efficiency of a delivery.”
What’s More Energy Efficient, Shopping Online or in Stores?
The Last Word
Samuel Johnson said:
“I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.”
—Samuel Johnson, English author