You probably think of junk mail as an everyday, mostly harmless annoyance of the modern world -- the tottering granddaddy of email spam -- but in actuality it's more like a parasite hell-bent on devouring the Earth by slowly burying it in colorful, obnoxious advertisements.
Every year the process of producing junk mail pumps over 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's the same amount produced by heating 13 million homes in the winter. And things only go downhill after all that crap gets delivered -- over three-quarters of all junk mail ends up in landfills, with nearly half of it never having even been opened (who out there is opening half of their junk mail?!?).
"Five percent off yogurt whey drinks? Ka-ching!"
You know what they say, though, about there being two sides to every coin. Anyone who's watched the financial perplexities of the United States Postal Service over the past several years knows that it's facing obsolescence thanks to newer, more instant nudity-friendly forms of communication. And considering the fact that junk accounts for more than half of our mail, you might say that junk mail is the reason we even still have a postal service at all. Of course, the third side to that severely warped coin is that the USPS pumps out its own 10-plus metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.
Add that to the aforementioned 50 million, and the result is an ocean of polar bear tears.
So what can we do about it? Well, for starters we can toss the junk in the recycling bin rather than the garbage. It won't stop the bulk mailers from producing it, but at least if it gets recycled you can eventually get it back as toilet paper and wipe your ass with it. Next, with a few phone calls and emails, you can remove yourself from the vast majority of junk mailings. It takes a bit more effort than tossing it straight into the garbage, but that's kind of the point: Saving something generally takes more work than destroying it.
If you're upset about the fact that everything you do kills the planet, Nathan can try to cheer you up on Twitter.
Which Sci-Fi Trope Would You Bring To The Real World, And Why? Every summer, we're treated to the same buffet of three or four science fiction movies with the same basic conceits. There's man vs. aliens, man vs. robots, man vs. army of clones, and man vs. complicated time travel rules. With virtual reality and self-driving cars fast approaching, it's time to consider what type of sci-fi movie we want to be living in for the rest of our lives. Co-hosts Jack O'Brien and Adam Tod Brown are joined by Cracked's Tom Reimann and Josh Sargent and comedians David Huntsberger, Adam Newman, and Caitlin Gill to figure out which sci-fi trope would be the best to make a reality. Get your tickets to this live podcast here!
For more ways we're killing ourselves, check out The 6 Most Insane Ways Going Green Can Backfire and 6 Awesome-Looking Things That Are Destroying The World.
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