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# Thursday, April 21, 2011
Color Your Family Tree Green
Posted by Diane

Our ancestors reduced, reused and recycled more than we do. Think of the stereotypical grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression with the phrase "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without:" She might save slivers of soap, darn socks and collect rainwater for the garden.

During World War II, our ancestors had to get by on less gasoline, butter, sugar, meat and other rationed items. They grew Victory Gardens and saved kitchen scraps, rubber tires and garden hoses, and aluminum cans to be recycled into bombs and tanks. 

Modern life presents us with different opportunities to be green. Here are a few ways you can incorporate environmentally friendly measures into your genealogy research:

  • Does your Family History Center have a microfilm reader that lets you load record images onto portable media? Bring a flash drive or CD when you go to check film, and save the paper.
  • Avoid printing out e-mails, websites and online newsletters if you can help it. Or you can print on both sides of your paper (but check your printer manual first—some manufacturers caution against printing on the back of paper that’s already been run through the printer).
  • Your computer and other electronics that stay plugged in draw energy even when turned off. Plug them into a power strip and switch it off when you’re not using the devices. (Read more about “phantom loads” here.) 
  • Going to a conference? Opt for a syllabus on CD, if available.
  • If you use a digital camera, don't print all your pictures—just the ones you’d like to put in an album or display. (Make sure you back up all those digital pictures, though.)
  • Get together with genealogy pals and carpool to the library, the cemetery and society meetings. Make lists of everything you want to get done so you don’t have to take another trip.
  • Instead of buying bottled water, bring a water bottle on your research trips.

  • E-mail your family newsletters and reunion invitations, rather than printing and mailing them.
We'd love to hear about the ways you're making your genealogy research greener. Happy Earth Day!

Research Tips
Thursday, April 21, 2011 3:38:22 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Friday, April 22, 2011 8:21:36 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
While I agree with many of your thoughts in this article, I find it funny that I just finished the free version of Eastman's Online Newsletter where he says we should be archiving our emails. Of course, on the free version I get so little of the article, I cannot tell if he meant archiving them by printing them out or not. I have heard there is some concern about what media we use now will still be available to our decendants 50 years from now, or even fewer years than that. Remember the 8 tracks?
Love the magazine and your newsletter.
BD
Betty Dingess
Friday, April 22, 2011 1:44:51 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Hi, Betty,
Most e-mail programs let you create a digital archive of your in-box (or any other folder you choose) to store on your hard drive. You also could copy and paste the text into a word document and save that. Sometimes you want to print e-mails you need to refer back to, or special e-mails (I printed the one with my nephew's first e-mail message), but it doesn't seem necessary to print every e-mail message.
Thanks for your comment!
Diane
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 7:31:07 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Excellent suggestions. I almost never print emails etc - but precious documents that I want to last beyond my lifetime are printed on archival quality (pH-neutral) paper and filed carefully. I have digital backups of everything.
Comments are closed.