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Paper Saving

A single setting in Microsoft Office wastes a small state's worth of trees every year. Plus Big Thinker Cameron Sinclair.

The website is calling for printer owners everywhere to take the simple step of, well, changing their margins from the current luxurious standard 1.25 inches to a the more modest .75 inches. It may sound like a small change, but if everyone in the nation did it, we'd save a little less than a Rhode Island's worth of trees every year. Does tinkering with Word's cumbersome preferences scare the fonts right out of you? Another goal of the site is to petition Microsoft to change the default margins on all its Office products.Changing your margins in Microsoft Word:Go to "File," then "Page Setup."Once on "Page Setup," click the "Default" key, and you'll be offered "Do you want to change the default settings for the page set up? This change will affect all new documents based on the normal template."Set each margin to .75 and save an immense amount of paper.

Cameron Sinclair

As the environmental movement continues to mature, we will soon reach a point where we can begin to quantify the ethical impact of a product or building. Does it use regionally-based renewable energy sources? Does it support fair labor practices? Does it encourage micro-financing? Are materials locally sourced? Is this a replicable or adaptable model? Once we reach this point we will be able to balance the environment with our global impact on it; you can look to the sky-piercing structures in the Middle East that use unfair and dangerous labor practices to question the ethical impact of the architectural firms who benefit financially from their commission. In essence, what is your ethical footprint and how does it affect the global community?Companies and donors are concerned about their ethical impact and are becoming extremely savvy about their socially giving programs. Previously, well-meaning NGOs would receive a donation after months of agonizing grant-writing, and the moment funds were released there would be little to no involvement from the donor. Now many funders are questioning that model and are evaluating how they can make a bigger impact on the projects they support. This closed relationship creates a holistic approach to giving.If you are a major engineering company in southern California, you will achieve a lot more right now by donating your services to the wildfire rebuilding than you would by just giving funds to the local Red Cross. Your firm's skill set and knowledge base can be an incredible benefit to helping an NGO create innovative and sustainable solutions. If anything, the ethical footprint of your company is directly tied to how you give. I, for one, welcome this change.Cameron Sinclair is a founder and the "eternal optimist" of Architecture for Humanity.

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