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Our ancestors reduced, reused and recycled more than we do. Think of the stereotypical
grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression with the phrase “Use it up, wear
it out, make it do or do without:” She might save slivers of soap, darn socks and
collect rainwater for the garden.
During World War II, our ancestors had to get by on less gasoline, butter, sugar,
meat and other rationed
items. They grew Victory Gardens and saved kitchen scraps, rubber tires and garden
hoses, and aluminum cans to be recycled into bombs and tanks.
Modern life presents us with different opportunities to be green. Here are a few ways
you can incorporate environmentally friendly measures into your genealogy research:
Does your Family History Center have a microfilm reader that lets you load record
images onto portable media? Bring a flash drive or CD when you go to check film, and
save the paper.
Avoid printing out e-mails, websites and online newsletters if you can help it. Or
you can print on both sides of your paper (but check your printer manual first—some
manufacturers caution against printing on the back of paper that’s already been run
through the printer).
Your computer and other electronics that stay plugged in draw energy even when turned
off. Plug them into a power strip and switch it off when you’re not using the devices.
more about “phantom loads” here.)
See if your favorite publications offer digital issues or subscriptions. You can get
subscription to Family Tree Magazine and download digital
versions of back issues. You also can access content from back issues online with
Tree Plus membership.
- Going to a conference? Opt for a syllabus on CD, if available.
If you use a digital camera, don’t print all your pictures—just the ones you’d like
to put in an album or display. (Make sure you back up all those digital pictures,
Get together with genealogy pals and carpool to the library, the cemetery and society
meetings. Make lists of everything you want to get done so you don’t have to take
- Instead of buying bottled water, bring a water bottle on your research trips.
E-mail your family newsletters and reunion invitations, rather than printing and mailing
We’d love to hear about the ways you’re making your genealogy research greener. Happy