Friday, August 8, 2008

Why Lawsuits Are Bad For The Environment

(Photo Asheville Courthouse: Jim Jamesson)
With everything I do, every step I take in my life, including when being sued for a ginormous amount of money I think about how it impacts the planet. A lawsuit going through it's litigation stages is a totally wasteful process and I can hardly comprehend what impact all the frivolous court cases around the world add up to!

1). PAPER WASTE - this has to be hands down the thing that bothers me worse. 20 pages of documents will be printed out 3 times and signed and then the next day one line must be changed for purpose of some law and all three re-printed, hence huge stacks of paper that now must be used as scrap or recycled. I always print on 100% recycled paper myself- but most legal documents are not printed on recycled paper. Which leads to more waste....
2). PRINTING INK - everyone knows how the makers of ink cartridges barely put any ink in there so it runs out all the time. When on either side of a lawsuit, specific law language must be used to describe the circumstance and it's a whole lot more long winded then "not guilty"!

3). COURT ATTIRE - Good Gawd! When I went to the court house library the other day I was clothes watching (how can I resist!) I realized that most everyone has to go out and buy something to wear when they appear in court, as proper attire is essential to your case (many unspoken rules apply). What I saw was tons of cheap synthetic mall clothes, much of which was nylon & polyester containing fabrics... not that I expected people to be parading out in hemp and organic cotton suits, but I noticed there's a huge amount of socially dictated consumerism going on.

4). FUEL & ENERGY - this is just in general ... during a lawsuit there is alot of mailing of documents (if in different states), people having to attend court hearings over and over again, and then for those who can afford a lawyer they have to pay TONS of money. Money wasted defending or offending, that I see better used as donations to the Nature Conservancy, native landscaping your yard, supporting green energy, driving a hybrid or electric vehicle, eating organic and local, or basically giving to any charitable organization.

I am "greening" the lawsuit against me as much as possible by only printing necessary documents on 100% recycled paper, recycling paper that doesn't get used, & I'm riding my bike or walking to run lawsuit related errands.


Judge Nick said...

5) Hot air: Major contribution to greenhouse gases. The amount of hot air the "company" suing you is creating is enough to kill off a small nation.

*The said opinion is not affiliated with The Oko Box
**Or Leslie Richard
***The best bet is to assume nothing was meant by it in any way.
****Except that they are assholes.

andrea said...

HAHAHA... we LIKE judge nick. Too funny.

Not funny however, is that you are bang on. I worked for awhile in a law office and I can't even tell you how disheartening it is to watch these people at work. I even worked in a relatively environmentally aware office. Both secretaries and one of the lawyers did what they could to keep paper use down, but EVERYTHING must be backed up into a paper file, EVERYTHING must be copied at least three times (lawyer, client, court file) and that doesn't include files that must go through city hall, or other outside office to be stamped, processed, whatever.

The upside is supposed to be that A LOT of things are done now over the internet. For example, it used to be that when a house was bought or sold, you had to work through a minimum of eighteen different offices to process, which is a LOT of paper. Now all of those offices are centralized online and you only need to print off the end result. But that is only one aspect of a huge amount of paper. It is seriously disgusting.

The amount of courier sent documents and whatnot is insane and the worst part is that if you buy your paper from someplace like staples, the recycled content paper is about 50% more expensive and I don't know how many lawyers you know, but they don't make a kind of lawyer that isn't stingy. It just isn't done. So yeah, I basically spent a lot of my downtime pulling paper and envelopes out of the garbage and trying to reuse what I could for docs that didn't need anyone else seeing them, but I couldn't let anyone seeing me do it.

One cool thing that came out of that job though was that the office next to ours hired a girl who kept the lights turned off all day. I have never seen that done in an office building before. She hd a window by her desk and that was good enough light for her to work by. Pretty soon everyone in the building was working with the lights off. Most of the "higher ups" ended up realizing how hard it was to work by flourescent light even though they were full spectrum. So a good change CAN be made by one person!

Hope you are keeping up well... I will send you more if I think of anything!

The Oko Box said...

Thanks Judge Nick!

Andrea- I am so glad someone else knows this experience. I love working without any lights on, and I always do - those harsh office lights really make me feel drained and gross. I LOVE that you dug in the garabage to save paper, I totally was taking paper to recycle out of an office the other day. I was worried they didn't have a recycling plan set up. lol

Kay Dennison said...

I am appalled at this. I've always ascribed to what my dear, departed daddy told me (except daddy used a different part of anatomy):

"In any situation or topic, opinions are like bellybuttons. Everybody has one and everybody is entitled to one."

I'm cheering and praying for you!!!

Disclaimer: This is purely my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! If your comment had the power to deter people who were going to spend $5 million with that company, you are one powerful ecowarrior!

(For one of my blog comments I was threatened with criminal prosecution by the person I offended--the guy even pretended there was a police detective investigating me and gave me his name and the case number. When I called the police myself they said there was no such case and no detective by that name in their department.)