The new US Postal service green stamps – no mention of global warming, climate change, or carbon – but they do want us to turn off our lights “forever”

The first thing I thought of when I heard about  the new US Postal Service “green stamps” was this logo at right.

I suppose I’ve dated myself identifying this, but I can’t help it. For the baby boomer generation, S&H Green Stamps are as familiar a logo as Coca-Cola 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 USPS issuing “green stamps” now.

When the USPS 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, they have a green page at USPS.com and they have climate change figured greatly with a carbon footprint calculator. Have a look: http://www.usps.com/green/

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

USPS created a whole new plate of “forever” stamps that will hold their value even if the rates go up….only one problem, the message is just a leeetle bit off where most consumers want to be. Watch the video:

I think they need to work on the message just a bit more. The “forever” message on this stamp (and others) was really just a bit too much I think.

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 other one that made me cringe was “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 USPS 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

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62 thoughts on “The new US Postal service green stamps – no mention of global warming, climate change, or carbon – but they do want us to turn off our lights “forever”

  1. I guess the USPS didn’t get the memo. Obama is now pushing for more drilling as long as the oil patch paints everything green. Perhaps USPS could add a big green derrick to the stamps.

  2. As an entity whose business model involves losing great quantities of money while delivering pieces of dead trees via petroleum powered vehicles that journey in 50 feet long increments, the USPS dare not mention CO2.

  3. No doubt the Postal Service wants us to turn off lights and not drive cars. Back when we didn’t have lights or cars the Postal Service was #1 and FedEx and UPS were not players. They want to turn back the clocks to 1870 when they were #1.

  4. Note on their web site, they claim to be the first fed agency to publicly report greenhouse emissions. Wonder how much money they wasted on collecting and reporting the data.

  5. Not that I care about the CO2 but, nobody has mentioned it.
    Not the government nor the environmentalists….
    USPS must has a huge carbon footprint and nobody says a word.

    Isn’t that strange?

    Nobody?

  6. The USPS is to be pitied rather than scorned. Their cash cow, first class mail, has been snatched from their maw by email. The low hanging fruit has vanished, leaving only residual mail that absolutely must be delivered as hard copy, like tax refund checks. Like my tax refund check that was delivered to an address eight miles from where I actually live. Okay, I take back what I said about pitied rather than scorned.

  7. John Who,

    Unfortunately, it would take a Constitutional amendment to put the USPS out of business. They know that, so their “service” is even worse than it would be otherwise.

  8. My dad used to work for the US Postal Service. Many were the times he’d come home with a description of their latest lame-brain idea to “optimize” mail delivery. We had many a good laugh at their expense. They weren’t breaking even then; they aren’t breaking even now.

  9. Anything that is not profitable is not ‘sustainable.’ Getting out of the red would be the greenest thing the USPS could do.

  10. Stuff like this is part of the reason the USPS lost billions recently and will be clammering for a postal increase soon, which will cost- more “GREEN.”

  11. On another site there was an article about the post office loses. A number of the comments strangely suggested that postal worker be forced to walk. I pointed out that doing that would not get the mail delivered any faster. However, I now thinking that if they want to follow their own advice that wouldn’t be bad idea.

  12. Smokey: No it wouldn’t. The Constitution allows Congress to create a post office it doesn’t mandate that they do so.

  13. If you had really dated yourself you would have mentioned Gold Bond and Gold Strike stamps as well.

  14. Maybe I’m naive, but I kinda like the thought that things appearing in my mailbox do so under threat of mail fraud laws, do not contain computer viruses, and reassure me that “I may be a winner….”, although its mostly just bills.

    Who looks at stamps anyway, my eyes are so bad nowadays it doesn’t really matter what they put on them.

  15. The U.S. government debt is “forever” so I fully support it reducing its footprint by 30% or more. The first thing it could do would be to ban all Federal employees from participating in frequent flyer programs while on official “business.” This would especially apply to climate scientists who notoriously spend great amounts of time flying all over the world in the name of reducing carbon emissions.

  16. USPS? Wow, electrifying their trucks, which still look like leftovers from WWII. And losing money all the way…

    OK, so here is my UPS (counter-USPS) story of last week – I ordered an iPad from Apple, which offers free 3-5 day shipping. It shipped last Tuesday and they attempted delivery at my US address in San Jose, CA at 8:35 Friday morning. So then I looked a the tracking report. You will never guess where the shipment originated on Tuesday morning – CHINA. From the factory in China to Hong Kong – Ankorage AL – Louisville KY (lost a day due to bad weather) – Oakland CA – San Jose CA on Friday AM. When I called them on the phone to make sure that the delivery was going to happen, they answered on the first ring (no phone tree), and with the tracking number, instantly reported that it had been signed for at 3:05 by Mr. Williams when the driver returned at the end of his run to try the delivery again. Wow.

    UPS and Fed Ex make very good money providing this kind of phenomenal service, while USPS loses money delivering for-profit non-time-critical junk mail. Moving to Panama, USPS mail delivery (and the reams of junk mail that comes along with the occasional check or bad news from the government), is something we positively do not miss. Oh we do get mail – you drop by the town post office and the lady behind the counter, who knows our names by now, looks in the cubby hole marked “H” for our fat IRS checks. /sarc

  17. The first thing I thought of when I heard about the new US Postal Service “green stamps” was this logo at right.

    I suppose I’ve dated myself identifying this, but I can’t help it. For the baby boomer generation, S&H Green Stamps are as familiar a logo as Coca-Cola 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.

    Curiously, green stamps, or more generically redemption centers (since there were competing varieties of stamps) were the only notable oversight in a wonderful book that surveyed features of the 50s (& 40s) that are no longer with us, Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana. Items it listed included rotary phones, milkmen, automats, carbon paper, phone booths, house calls, stockings, etc. Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Going-Gone-Vanishing-Americana/dp/B000IOEQCG/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305425597&sr=1-4

  18. To me it looks like more “feel good” stuff. It doesn’t change a thing, but makes someone feel good.

  19. We are witnessing the momentum of a meme. The message disappears while the behavioural patterns remain. Like cuffs on pant bottoms, faux pockets on jackets and small chrome arrows on the hood fronts of cars, these “green” stamps reflect a strict statement that had a reality but that reality has become lost. This is a very good sign for the death of the warmist movement.

    We are seeing the birth of an appendix: where once global warming and climate change refered to an actual event, it now refers to an environmental “goodness”, like picking up trash in the neighbourhood evolved from “pollution control” in 1968,

  20. I still have a hand saw that I bought as a teenager with S&H stamps. Mom would let us buy things with the books we put together. I’m 49 now and have pointed out where the S&H store used to be to my kids. Here in Texas, HEB grocery stores had Texas Gold Stamps too.

  21. I think I read the USPS lost $3 billion this year. For one, I’d be happy getting snail mail no more than twice a week, nothing that comes by snail mail is super time sensitive anyways these days. Deliver on Mondays and Thursdays. I realize that the physical act of delivering the mail isn’t much of the total operating cost of the USPS, but going down to two days would still save a lot of money.

  22. The “forever” refers to the fact that it is a first class stamp with no denomination on it. It means you can use it as a first class stamp regardless how much they raise the rates in the future, so that’s what they mean by “forever”. The forever does not refer to the idea on the stamp.

  23. I know this is off topic here but I couldn’t get the tips page to load. As predictable as the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, Peter Gleick is at it again. This time it’s the flooding of the Mississippi:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/05/13/136280440/struggling-to-contain-a-rising-mississippi

    I’ve used this before, but do they flash some kind of moonbat signal in the sky to call this guy to action, maybe an image of a tear-soaked Al Gore? Anyway, here are a few of the eggs he laid. When asked, “Are you willing to point to this, this massive flood as evidence of all the factors that you said, the snow melt, the incredible amount of rainfall as evidence that this might be something to expect more of in the future?”

    GLEICK: “Absolutely. Let me put it this way: Climate science tells us unambiguously that we’re changing the climate, and we’re trapping more energy in the atmosphere. We know that trapping more energy will cause more extreme events and will worsen extreme events that would otherwise happen.

    The way we think about this in the climate community is we call it loading the dice. We’re rolling loaded dice, weighted toward more extreme and energetic weather.

    We know through observation that flood frequency is increasing along the Mississippi. We know through observation that the atmosphere is holding a lot more moisture now than it did 20 or 30 or 40 years ago because of global warming.

    I think the way to think about this now is not attribution. No one is saying the Mississippi floods are caused by climate change. I want to make that clear. But extreme events are unambiguously now influenced by climate change.”

    And later:

    “Following Katrina, we rebuilt the levees in New Orleans to the same level that they had been built before. We might have strengthened them, but we didn’t take into account future sea level rise. It would have been smart to have increased the height of some of those levees.

    That’s what I mean by we’re not really thinking for future climate. We’re still thinking about past climate.”

    Dr. Link corrected him on that one:

    “The – one correction. In New Orleans, the levees were designed considerably higher than they were prior to Katrina, and sea level rise was factored into that. A whole new hurricane climatology was created to define the water elevations that may exist in different locations around New Orleans.”

    Gleick with his loaded dice again:

    “Well, I think, without a doubt, they’re going to be suffering. Let me draw a distinction between the science and the policy side of this. The scientific community unambiguously understands that we’re changing the climate, and that we’re increasingly loading the dice, as I say, in terms of extreme events.”

    Never let a crisis go to waste.

  24. Don’t blame the postal service, being a government agency they are probably just following orders. Blame your elected politicians who are in charge and allocate tax dollars.
    I smell another stamp hike.

  25. Would be nice if USPS concentrated on delivering mail. I had something sent to me on 4th May from TX, took three days to get to Chicago for international dispatch (May 7th) and am still waiting.
    Contrast with DHL which took three days total delivery time. Tell me who is more efficient?

  26. “use public transportation”
    JK: When will these green nitwitts learn to actually look at data?
    public transportation uses MORE energy than cars.
    Under BHO’s new car mileage mandate, transit will be a big energy waster compared to cars.

    And transit costs over five times the cost of driving!
    And transit takes twice the time for the average commuter!

    See http://www.portlandfacts.com/top10bus.html

    Thanks
    JK

  27. I was talking to a postmaster [the guy in charge of a local post office] about 12 – 13 years ago. He mentioned that a certain individual would regularly come into the lobby and put $39.00 into the stamp machine for a roll of 100 stamps, take his stamps, then go straight to the counter and complain that the machine didn’t give him the stamps. He said that the post office always refunded the money. They knew it was a scam, but they didn’t care – the public was paying. No skin off their nose.

    A few weeks ago, being a supporter of the 2nd Amendment I purchased a firearm on-line. It was sent via USPS, but it never arrived. In discussing the problem with the vendor, he told me, “The post office uses X-ray machines, and they can spot a rifle in a package a mile away.” I asked him about the chain of custody. He said, “These guys are unionized. All they have to do is deny that it’s their signature, and without a witness that’s the end of it. Sorry about your loss.” So someone is out there with an unregisterd gun – courtesy of the USPS.

    Needless to say, I won’t use that gun shop again because they stupidly trusted the USPS instead of FedEx or UPS. But there is a major problem with government services in general, and my bad experience hilights it: government is not the solution, it is the problem.

  28. Share a ride … forever.

    Until your friends get on your last nerve and none of you are friends evermore.

  29. Hello, Danny. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, forever and ever … and ever.

  30. Agree with Doug Proctor above. This represents the fading of hard environmentalism back to good old conservation.

    All excellent goals, and I follow most of them for cheapness and simplicity.

  31. All the Best and the Brightest inside the beltway can’t even run the postal MONOPOLY without going bankrupt.

    And they have the arrogance to think that they can run health care? And, yes, I include Romney here. The Donks don’t have a monopoly on stupid.

    What planet are those fools living on? (Obviously, a rhetorical question. I wish it was a joke.)

    Regards,

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  32. Creepiness aside, yes, the ‘forever’ just denotes that the stamp will always be accepted as a first class stamp regardless of any postage price increase. But, the same font and style is used for the ‘green’ message and ‘forever’ … so the idea that one should ‘use public transportation’ ‘forever’ is certainly implied.

  33. I suggest a conservative and efficient solution. Close USPS and authorize Fed-X and UPS to deliver the mail, as well as any 3rd party or junior partners that would like to compete in the business. Let each company collaborate with the other mail delivery companies to achieve efficiencies and profitability that they might not be able to achieve individually. Let them set their own prices for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class mail delivery, based on their own performance and profitability models. If any of the old assets of USPS are sold to the new mail delivery companies, any and all union contracts associated with those assets are declared null and void. Let competitive capitalism determine mail delivery pricing and performance, ‘forever’.

    I’m bloody fed up with inefficient government controlled entities lecturing myself an the rest of the population about conservation and efficiency, when the best they can manage is to occasionally emulate a few aspects of efficient companies like UPS and Fed-X, whilst mostly delivering poor service and inane moral lectures at the taxpayers subsidized expense.

    From: After Another Quarterly Loss, Postal Service Licks Its Wounds
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/12/quarterly-loss-postal-service-licks-wounds/
    “The dismal data showed the (USPS) agency lost $2.2 billion in the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 – much higher than the $1.6 billion in losses posted during the same time frame a year earlier – and may soon be unable to repay its Treasury Department loans.
    “This is not going away but will get worse,” said Rick Geddes, an associate professor in policy analysis and management at Cornell University. “There is about $90 billion in unfunded liabilities. So there will be a giant taxpayer bailout in the next few years, which will dwarf the banks bailouts, since money to the USPS will never be paid back. It’s all totally predictable, given collapsing revenue.”

    It’s all totally predictable…….. another Obamanation bail out, at US taxpayer expense, of an already fossilized dinosaur government entity. Like bloody hell! Yet another reason to boot ’em out in the Nov 2012 elections!

  34. The message may not focused on the AGW meme, but it fits quite well the NEW and IMPROVED meme of SUSTAINABILITY.

    Welcome to the post-AGW environmental world folks!

  35. Instead of going “green”, maybe they should go “brown”. Brown as UPS brown. At least UPS could deliver the mail without billions of dollars in handouts from the taxpayers, and would probably turn a pretty good profit, too!

  36. BradProp1 says:
    May 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    “Instead of going “green”, maybe they should go “brown”. Brown as UPS brown. At least UPS could deliver the mail without billions of dollars in handouts …”

    I’m just tired of getting mail for the wrong street and having my mail turn up missing. I’ve had to have inbound checks canceled and re-cut three times this year.

  37. USPS desperately needs to be privatized. It’s absolutely outrageous that they are losing money hand over fist and little or nothing is being done about it, with an expensive bailout looming on the horizon. De-monopolize first-class mail, sell USPS assets and get the government out of the mail-delivery business. European countries have done so with great success; it’s time we realized that we are borrowing (yet more) money from China (or just printing it and borrowing it from ourselves…(!)) to subsidize an unsustainable and poorly-run service.

  38. I think it’s fair to say that if the light isn’t going to be in use anymore forever, it should be shut off forever.

  39. I couldn’t begin to describe the issues with the USPS…6 months to change your address in their system? Seriously?

    Some mail still not getting forwarded past this 6 monthes…lost mail…Just pure incompetence.

    Then I head into fedex and not only do they have the correct address for me, but for some relatives who moved less then 3 months ago. It seems that their addresses were fixed in their own system after I went there once.

    You would think this kind of service would be easy to achieve, but instead we have the USPS going green instead and doing all sort of money wasting things like this. Then we wonder why it takes them 6 monthes to change your address in their system.

  40. The USPS video clip hand turning the tap, sorry faucet, was turning it ON not off. Not the best way to cure a drip.

    I used to use public transport but was cured when in Singapore. Using the communal ‘Pickup Taxi’ I shared my seat with an old lady carrying some chicken. I say shared my seat, she sat on my lap and the chicken occasionally fluttered round my head. This was the cure to stop me using public transport.

  41. I was looking for a pen or something in a drawer at my mom’s house recently and found a few books full of S&H green stamps. I made some smart-ass comment like “Something you’re planning on trading these for?”. She laughed and said they’re collector’s items now. I’m sure they are. Probably worth more now than they ever were in the past.

  42. I think it is time to let FedEx and UPS deliver first class mail.

    Keep Smiling :)
    Jeff

  43. Here in Canada there is talk of a postal strike within the next few weeks. Seeing how traditional door to door delivery of mail has deteriorated into a advertising flyer delivery service, I won’t miss them if they walk. Forever.
    /sarc

  44. I think it’s time to stamp out the pseudo-environmental Greenie Religion. Forever.

  45. Is there really one with laundry on it, tinted a lime/mint sort of colour? Yes foks, they made a stamp for ‘green-washing’ :)

  46. Speaking of the USPS and Federal Express…

    As I recall, Federal Express ended up pulling that commercial because of union complaints.

  47. “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.”

    Ronald Reagan put it another way, you cannot conserve yourself into prosperity.

    The subtle truth behind both these observations is that in a free market, supply and demand is always in balance. But when we allow government to pretend that it can mitigate supply or price issues by political intervention, then people start to direct their energies at manipulating the political considerations. Instead of focusing on improving efficiency (to lower costs) or creating wealth (so as to be able to afford more), energy is directed in a political direction, not an economic one.

    Sadly, the bigger the government, the more it intrudes and the more our time is devoted to political matters and not economic ones. This can be seen in the uproar over the fact that General Electric had billions in profit but did not owe any taxes. Management found it more productive, at least in the short run, to have 600 accountants, lawyers and lobbyists than to have 600 engineers and production line workers.

    This is an important point that conservative and libertarian candidates for office must bring to the public when they make the case for reducing the size of government.

  48. I think that the criticism of the ‘forever’ on the stamps is just a misreading of intention. All postage stamps have the ‘value’ on them, like 44 cents. All ‘forever’ stamps have ‘forever’ as the value…. This complaint would be similar to claiming the the US Flag stamp secretly demeans the flag by placing its value as 44 cents.

    All of the messages are good, middle-of-the-road, reasonable suggestions, most of which I personally agree with and have followed for the last fifty years. I admit, I do not, for the most part, ride public transportation, which in most areas (outside of dense urban areas) is not really useful.

  49. Our Post Office mail system here in the UK comes in for a great deal of criticism about how it works and how it is always losing money. I have found that their service is better than good, it is excellent; I can post a letter or package today and, for a fairly reasonable sum, next-day delivery to almost anywhere in the UK is guaranteed.
    The Top Gear television program had an episode where The TG Team tried to beat a mailed letter from Cornwall to Northern Scotland – and lost!

  50. Kip Hansen says:
    May 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I think that the criticism of the ‘forever’ on the stamps is just a misreading of intention.
    It’s called irony. Look it up.
    As for the messages themselves, most are just feel-good green-washing tripe, having little, if anything to do with environment. It amounts to an insidious type of Big Government nannyism, cloaked in green.

  51. Global Warming and CO2 may not have been mentioned, but the recent Catalogue
    states (the USPS is going) “To cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020,”.
    Why do otherwise worthwhile environmental suggestions have to be linked (albeit subtly) to a worthless, but very expensive goal?

  52. I’m surprised that the USPS hasn’t gone the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” route and transformed into a secure ISP.

    I’d pay a bit of money per month for super-secure email with USPS involvement….they could make “Nigerian prince” phishing emails a federal crime, enhance cybersecurity etc.

    They are dead & don’t even know it yet. It happens all the time….pony express, Indian guards on trains, etc. Good riddance, get rid of the massive real estate & salary to push dead tree-parts around. That will save a lot of carbon.

  53. it is a wise man who remembers that forever is a long time
    and a wiser one that knows that never is just as long…

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