Opinion

The U.S. Postal Service’s new ‘forever’ green stamps

The first thing I thought of when I heard about the U.S. Postal Service’s new “green stamps” was this logo:

I suppose I’ve dated myself by identifying this, but I can’t help it. For the baby boomer generation, S&H Green Stamps are as familiar as the Coca Cola logo and the always-entertaining roadside Burma-Shave messages. According to Wikipedia, during the 1960s, the S&H rewards catalog printed by the company was the largest publication in the United States and the company issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service. So, it seems ironic to have U.S.P.S. issuing “green stamps” now.

When the U.S.P.S. decided to issue their own “green stamps,” I figured the first thing they would hit on would be global warming and CO2 reduction. After all, there’s a green page at USPS.com that emphasizes climate change and includes a carbon footprint calculator. Have a look

Surprisingly though, when you watch the promotional video, there’s no stamp that says anything about global warming or CO2. Even the official U.S.P.S. press release has no mention of global warming, climate change, or carbon footprints. That’s just strange. Maybe they realize that climate change has become “Voldemort” in Washington.

U.S.P.S. created a whole new plate of “forever” stamps that will hold their value even if the rates go up. But there’s a problem with the placement of the word “forever” — it looks like it’s part of the green message. Watch the video:

I’m fine with energy conservation; I practice it myself. But really, forever is a long time. I had to laugh at the juxtapositioning of the message and how they are revealed in the video. The ones that made me cringe the most were “turn off the lights…forever” and “use public transportation…forever.”

Perhaps it was so familiar to them, they missed the unintentional gaffe. Only a bureaucrat could miss this silliness. Or, maybe it’s a new brand of not-so-subliminal messaging. Either way, I don’t think it will work.

As George Monbiot recently put it:

It is a campaign not for abundance but for austerity. It is a campaign not for more freedom but for less. Strangest of all, it is a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.

Of course I’m sure the U.S.P.S. will be just as successful at promoting this new green message via “forever stamps” as they are with their primary mission:

U.S. Postal Service Lost Record $8.5 Billion in 2010

USPS lost 2.2 Billion in one quarter

Anthony Watts operates the most visited blog on climate science in the world, www.wattsupwiththat.com.