Chalk one up for the environment (Day 206)…


This past week, I’ve been attending daily writer’s workshops where, for the most part, people seem to be fairly green-conscious, printing their short stories on both sides of the page and using glasses and mugs rather than disposable cups. But one major vice that’s just killing me is the flip chart. We use it to draw plot graphs or character sketches, but most likely, when one page is full, the person flips it over and starts to scribble on the next instead of turning the whole stand around and using the back.

Although our moderator has said he’d prefer a whiteboard, I think even these aren’t much of an alternative, what with the toxic fumes that come out from those dry erase markers. No, the best idea when it comes to illustrating an idea for a group of people is either using your vocabulary and a bit of imagination, or writing it out on a chalkboard.

So from today on, whenever I’m at a workshop, a lecture or meeting, I’m going to make a point of requesting that we illustrate our points the same way teachers do in the classroom — use a chalkboard. Or, if none is available, rely on a lot of sweeping hand gestures.

Photo courtesy of Private Ale on Flickr

11 Responses to Chalk one up for the environment (Day 206)…

  1. Brian says:

    Non-toxic white board markers…

    How chalk is made:

    I’m not sure, but chalk boards certainly aren’t 100% eco friendly.

  2. limesarah says:

    Chalkboards are excellent 🙂

    If you have to use flipboards, I’d think that it would be a lot easier to just use the fronts of all the pages, then flip the whole pad around and use all the backs.

  3. rejin says:

    Unfortunately, most schools where I have worked are switching to white boards. Seems that they think chalk dust could be an asthma trigger, but they don’t think about what the fumes are doing to the kids.

  4. Missy says:

    You can green alot, but no sense in fretting over every minute detail, whiteboard vs easel pads. You will go cookoo over it. lol. Reuse as much as is possible should be the goal.

  5. gettinggreen says:

    Good point, Brian — white board in and of themselves would be fine, as long as the markers weren’t toxic. But then, I would have thought chalk would be more eco-friendly than all that plastic.

  6. scopettg says:

    OMG… short circuits…
    I blur.

  7. blah says:

    handy point about chalk – it helps to keep ants out of your garbage. Just outline the cement where your garbage can sits outside and it will help keep ants away. We used to put a big ring around our dogs dog-house to keep ants away from the bones she would inevitably drag to her house for mid-night munchies.

  8. senseofbalance says:

    Chalk is even more dangerous than erasable markers on a whiteboard – possibly not toxic, but the dust certainly coats the lungs.

    If you have any knowledge of teaching at all, you’ll realize that “a lot of sweeping hand gestures” won’t do at all – especially teaching YOUR generation, who consider having to read something an imposition and using a word they don’t know (which means everything but “like”, “y’know”, and the two most common swear words) as an insult. You always have to write things down to visualize them, and the flip chart is the most ecologically sound way (better, because clearer, with a very broad lead pencil instead of coloured inks) as well as the cheapest. And why throw away good lecture time on turning the easel around after filling each sheet? – as Limesarah has already suggested, you use all the fronts of the sheets, then flip them over and use all the backs.

    Climate change and Greenness are political issues anyway. Further confusion by going OTT does NOT help looking at things clearly.


  9. cheaplikeme says:

    If you’re going to use a whiteboard, use a good one – I bought a cheap one and now I can’t erase it – what a waste! I cringe!

    I find it ironic that the commenter above who insulted “your generation” as being stupid and vulgar (I think that was the gist?) wrapped up with an abbreviation I (probably a member of your generation, or so?) can’t understand. Call me dumb, call me a Luddite, but what’s OTT?

  10. senseofbalance says:

    “Over the top.” English, 1970s.

  11. senseofbalance says:

    And the word wasn’t “stupid” or “vulgar” but “inarticulate”.

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