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Environmental Green [Shield] Stamps

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Once upon a time, we had Green Shield Stamps. In the US, I believe they had Green Stamps, which were similar but with a shorter name. The basic idea was that, when you bought something, you got a bunch of stamps with some nominal value (like 0.01p each).

You'd collect these stamps, and stick them into a book which had a nicely printed grid of squares (or rectangles, rather).

There was a Green Shield Catalogue, listing attractive consumer goods such as pen-and-pencil sets, bath towels and cars. A pen- and- pencil set would be priced at 6 pages of stamps, a bath towel at three books of stamps, a car at 2 million books of stamps, etc.

As a result, people would shop at stores that gave Green Shield Stamps, in order to diligently acquire (or diligently to acquire, if you feel strongly about split infinitives) the points they needed to fulfill their aspirations.

So.

Fast forward to 2009.

Green Shield Stamps are no more.

Many of the goods I buy have some kind of environmental merit. My kitchen towels are made from recycled paper; my refrigerator has a low energy rating; my tuna is line-caught; my silver foie-gras slicer is made from melted-down Roman coins. Etc etc, yada yada.

But where is the scorekeeping? How much environment have I actually saved by buying these products? Where's my return on replacing the brake-light bulbs in my 4.8 litre Jag with more efficient LEDs? Where's the return on my environmental investment?

Enter Environmental Green Shield Stamps. When I buy my water- conserving jacuzzi, or purchase a pack of sulphur-free fireworks, or buy truffles which have been shipped by sea rather than air, I get a certain number of EGSSs. I stick these into a book, filling page after page with environmental worthiness. Slowly, I fill one book, then another, and another - and soon I am looking eagerly through the EGSS catalogue.

One full book buys me a rare Namibian feng-beetle. Twelve books buy me a pinned and mounted Chalk Blue butterfly. Twenty-four books get me a square yard of Amazonian rainforest. An orang- utan and an Eastern Mountain Gorilla each cost 64 books (including shipping). Or, I could keep saving until I have enough points for the most expensive item in the EGSS catalogue - an adult North Pacific Right Whale.

You know it makes sense. If we're going to save the environment, we ought to at least get a piece of it.

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 21 2009

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       How much do you get for sinking that scum of the sea ship, The Nisshin Maru? [+]
xenzag, Feb 21 2009
  

       Knights of the green shield stamp and shout...
tatterdemalion, Feb 21 2009
  

       ... as long as there's a SWAT team standing by to airlift in and rip those stamps right out of your hands as soon as there is clear and present danger of you actually driving that LED-retrofitted Jag...   

       More direct approach - and one even involving RFID (!) would be to have the stamps control your aircondition (also the one in the Jag), so you get direct feedback about the climate impact.
loonquawl, Feb 22 2009
  

       Of course you can go one better than a water saving jacuzzi, you can do without it. You can do one better than an eco-car, you can walk or cycle or use public transport. Or not travel.   

       If the government pays for this, then the non-consumers will pay for what the environmentally friendly consumers are doing. If private industry pays, the cost will be factored into the cost of environmentally friendly goods.   

       The most effective method is a tax on what is not environmentally friendly. This discourages harmful consumption, but does not encourage consumption of goods which hurt the environment less but still hurt it.
Bad Jim, Feb 22 2009
  

       [loonqwal] If I don't drive my Jag, how on earth am I meant to get to and from my jet? You think I can land the thing in my back garden?   

       [BadJim] //go one better than a water saving jacuzzi, you can do without it// Oh for heaven's sake. I don't want to go back to the dark ages, I just want to make a difference. You'll be having us wearing leather jerkins and cooking our Kobe beef over an Aga next.   

       And I don't care how it's done - but I am frankly getting a bit sick and tired of the current scam. Time and again I am told I'm helping to save a whale in the rainforest somewhere, but does anyone actually deliver it? No, they bloody don't.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2009
  

       The whole point of saving the whale or forest is that it isn't delivered anywhere. They mean saving it so it can stay where it is.
Bad Jim, Feb 22 2009
  

       I can't eat a whole whale. Can I save it?
Ian Tindale, Feb 22 2009
  

       Do you live in the forest?
blissmiss, Feb 22 2009
  

       //They mean saving it so it can stay where it is.// Well, that's a fat lot of good and, incidentally, something that's not made at all clear on all this "Eco Friendly" stuff. If I want to watch a whale or a forest where it is, I can use the telly or go there myself. So, in effect, they're asking me to pay so I can continue to do so? I already pay my TV licence and air-fares. Sounds to me rather like raising money to preserve the constellations. Someone has some explanating to do.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2009
  

       "And in other news today, it was revealed that the Chinese manufacturer of the Green Shield Stamps has been dumping their toxic waste from the manufacture of stamp glue into the Yellow River..."
RayfordSteele, Feb 26 2009
  
      
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