Trump has had some nasty things to say recently about the United States Postal Service. He’s called it “a joke.” I think that’s going a bit far when speaking about a long-standing, well-run government agency. But I would say this: I think that many of the postal services provided would be handled better in other ways. And I would say the same thing about booksellers. And newspaper publishers.
We’ve been talking for some time about climate change, and about the causes of climate change. What does the postal service do? It hires 600,000 workers, it receives letters and postal packages, and it delivers them 6 days out of the week. And it does a good job of it. But to do it, it pushes thousands of trucks out on the road, and those trucks generate all sorts of gasoline fumes and wear and tear on tires and roads. And the letters and advertisements which are delivered are made of paper, and most of them are jettisoned by the recipients into the trash.
What’s the alternative? Send everything over the internet, of course. It’s all electronic. No trash, no fumes, no wear and tear. If we had no way of sending paper letters any more, people would send them by email.
Now, the USPS also delivers packages. But that could be done by a greatly reduced service.
And what about books, magazines, and newspapers? Why do we still insist on hard copies? Virtually the same product can be delivered over the internet. Actually, the product can include sound and video, which the old-fashioned product cannot do. And all of these electronic products save trees, ink, delivery costs and the like. And they end the jettisoned product.
There are some small downsides of having no more newspapers. We’ll lack starter fuel for fireplaces, and we’ll lack packing material. But I’m sure that we’ll figure out efficient substitutes.
While some of us will miss messages that we can hold in our hands, the major impact of getting rid of postal workers, printers, and the like is the need to find alternative employment for all these people. But it’s always that way when we deal with climate change issues by eliminating jobs. Just remember, though, that eliminating post services and all the printing and delivery jobs makes the economy run smoother. If we taxed the wealthy and put these workers into jobs that made the earth a better place to live, we would be eliminating bad effects on the atmosphere and making the planet a better place. There would be just as much food, clothing, and housing. And we might have a bigger market for computers and things like iPads as reading devices. We’d have a stockpile of postal trucks that we could use instead of manufacturing new ones. I’m sure that the manufacturing companies would hate the result, but slowing the growth of manufacturing would be a good thing, too.
As we retrieve ourselves from the COVID-19 horror, let’s start thinking seriously about ways to make the world a better place. Getting rid of paper products except when really necessary is a good start. No more need to cut down trees. But the lumbermen can be used to making the forests more fire resistant. We need those trees to clear the air.
Did you know that we can substitute hemp for wood in many instances? And hemp grows faster than trees and takes more carbon out of the atmosphere. Let’s think about such things. We can use those lumbermen to help grow the hemp, too.