The Newspaper Trap

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Change |


Years ago I was part of a team which was instructed to come up with ways to substantially reduce our budgets. After a week of pouring over our plans, projects, operations, we met to share ideas. One team member was eager to start us off, so the floor was given to him. He proudly said that after hours of investigations, we could save money by reducing the number of newspapers we received at the office.

To say that the rest of us were surprised is an understatement. The current budget was over $50 million annually. And we need to reduce it by multiple millions. The newspaper savings was about $45 per month.

His idea met the brief. It was saving. However, it was out of proportion with the required saving.

Similarly, when we talk about climate change (aka atmospheric cancer) and we focus on fireplaces burning wood. We miss the scale of the change required. Burning wood does contribute carbon into the atmosphere and does have an impact on the air quality. This is true. However, it is at a small scale. Cars, on the other hand, contribute vastly more. Given the scale of the problem, focusing on wood burners seems misplaced.

This is a trap we can all fall into. In our desire for change it is worth asking ourselves if what we are focusing on is proportional to the change we seek.

Are you falling into the newspaper trap?

Photo by Roman Kraft


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