Cubicle with a cause

How can I pimp my office cubicle in a sustainable way?

The word “pimp” implies a patriarchal paradigm that I’m hesitant to endorse based on feminist principles in opposition to the subversion of vulnerable societal subgroups into categorical frameworks from which they can never achieve upward mobility. Phew! But I understand that you’re just a product of the MTV generation. So let’s move forward with a new awareness of the inherent problems in the word “pimp.” No, I’ve got a better idea: Let’s reclaim the word “pimp” and use it, instead, to talk about decorations!

OK, now let’s pimp your cubicle.

You must apply three “R” principles. The first: reduce. Turn off your computer before you go home because leaving it on standby still drains electric power. Open the blinds and rely on natural light, or switch to CFL bulbs that use 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.

The second principle: re-use. If you demand less new stuff, gas-guzzling factories will waste less energy creating supply. Buy used office furniture at Ruland’s, [215 North 16th Street, (916) 441-0706] then check out Thrift Town [401 El Camino Avenue, (916) 922-9942] for the picture frames, flower pots, snow globes and other shallow consumer statements that scream “you.”

Finally: recycle. Think before you print. Keep a stack of junk paper—like those sheets that come off the printer with nothing but a lone e-mail address printed at the top—and print on the backs of them. Buy recycled paper with a low chlorine bleach content to print formal letters and other important documents.

Then replace your garbage can with a recycling bin. By forcing yourself to get up from your cubicle to use the garbage can in the break room, you’ll think twice and check before trashing things that can be recycled.