You need ergonomics and flow

Photo by Trevin Rudy on Unsplash

When you take a walk, you make a loop, starting and ending at your home. The most efficient way (in time and energy) to get home would have been just to stay home, but walks aren’t about efficiency of locomotion; they are about walking.

If your walk has a specific destination, say if you’re walking to your favorite breakfast restaurant, you may want to take the fastest route. Or you may not, depending on whether you need a walk and have time to spend. …

Get curious and creative instead

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Discussing environmental impacts and sustainable technology brings up interesting reactions in people. When I wrote a post comparing notebooks from a sustainability point of view, one of my friends praised it before wincing and saying “I’m one of those terrible people who have a Moleskine.”

This friend is not a terrible person, nor are people ‘terrible’ for buying a product that isn’t the most sustainable one available in its category. Heck, I have two Moleskines myself.

Most of the notebooks I recommended in my post are recently-developed products. People who wanted to write in notebooks before the ones I recommended…

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

As I wrote recently, I’m building up my database of sustainability research sources and news, one link at a time. For this article, I’m trying something new.

I am NOT an expert on sustainability, so if you aren’t either (yet), it might be fun to follow along with me as I learn the subject. I’ll admit to being inspired by the whole ‘get ready/travel/study with me/reaction video/unboxing video’ genre on Youtube.

I’m organizing my research by questions. The questions I’m researching in this post are about greenwashing. I cover one news article in this post, which may or may not…

Grasping a vast subject requires a creative approach

Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash

Environmental sustainability is a vast subject that touches every aspect of our lives — food, fashion, and our commutes to work — as well as many elements that we don’t see behind the curtain, like the supply chains that build the trucks that ship the products we buy. It also covers multiple areas of study, like science, engineering, policy, and law. All of that makes it an intimidating field of learning.

I’d like to have a better grasp on the subject for many reasons. One, because it’s fascinating. It includes every issue I’m interested in. And because I want to…

Statistics is an instrument of truth.
You can make truer statements with statistics than without. Statements that apply to some fraction of people for some fraction of the time can be stated as such, instead of as absolutes.

No one ‘always’ does anything. If you said to someone “You always do this!” the statement can only be false.

‘All’ people of a certain demographic don’t do any one thing. “All women (or all men) behave a certain way”, is less true than a statement that specifies what fraction of men or women you mean, and how you estimated this fraction.

Sustainable options often lead to living better

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

Ergonomics has been on my mind as I set up my home office after moving into a new apartment. To get a desk of the right height, I had to build my own out of a plank from a hardware store and a couple of filing cabinets. I want my books and notebooks within arm’s length, and to be able to wheel my chair from the computer desk to the writing station to the sketching station with ease, without wires getting in the way.

I’ve also been thinking about cognitive ergonomics and how a slower pace of life suits our…

Extrapolating trends too far into the future can lead to absurd conclusions

Sketch by the author

Remember when we thought we were going to become ever-more connected until we merged into a collective hive mind?

We saw ourselves become more connected than we had been, as email, texting, and social media came on the scene. Why wouldn’t this trend continue? Extrapolating, we thought we’d end up at the extreme end-state of becoming a super-organism.

I use ‘we’ loosely. I know not all of us thought that.

Consider now the extreme distaste many of us have for social media and email, the fashionable practice of ‘unplugging’ and going of the grid, technology detoxes, and digital minimalism.


We’re just really tired of ads.

Photo by Gabriel P on Unsplash

Where did this ‘goldfish’ factoid come from? The origin was a study done by Microsoft’s advertising department, which was then popularized by Time magazine. All the links I found to the pdf of the original study were broken. Microsoft has taken it off of their website, based on my search on their site for the word ‘goldfish’.

Does the finding sound plausible to anyone? We don’t read entire books in 8-second increments. A standard ‘Pomodoro’ is 20 minutes. “How are Netflix binges a thing?” …

Even if it seems like nothing is happening for now

Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash

A message for people who care about sustainability and the environment: you might be discouraged by the slow progress of countries and people toward sustainable development. Over recent decades, the problems have been clear and yet the solutions have stalled.

We recycle and buy package-free. We carry our own reusable bags and mugs to the store. We scour the internet for the most sustainably produced couch or dental floss, knowing that we are only one customer and the ‘other’ couches and dental flosses are doing a roaring trade without us. We sign petitions and advocate for new processes in the…

The kind that leads somewhere and the kind that doesn’t

Photo by Brannon Naito on Unsplash

I’ve been struggling to organize my home office for years. I’ve made a variety of resolutions to ‘finally’ buy the right chair or invent an organization scheme for my notes, tidy a little bit each evening — none of it stuck.

I did tidy in small increments as planned. But I ended up cleaning the same layer or clutter over and over as it built back up, never getting any closer to the comfortable, organized office I needed.

Taking a tiny step in a process that seems overwhelming is one of the best ways to start. …

Deepti Kannapan

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