All Work And No Play Makes For Environmental Disaster

David Roberts writing for Fast Company questions American’s zeal for overworking and measures the impact of this hyperactivity on the environment.

The United States leads the world in two categories: work and waste. American employees put in more hours and take fewer vacations than just about anyone else in the industrialized world, and our individual ecological “footprints” are much larger.
Coincidence? I think not. The way we work drives our habits of consumption and waste. The more we work, the more we drive, the more energy we burn, the more styrofoam to-go containers we use. At the end of the day, we’re so tired, we devour more takeout and TV, often falling asleep in front of the latter. If we want to accelerate the recent trend of reducing waste, it may be time to consider the radical step of, well, relaxing more, consuming less, and living fuller lives. May the Wall Street Journal editorial board strike me down.

I’d love to hear your responses to this. The agency business isn’t exactly known for lightweight workloads. In fact, I’d venture that some shops are proud of their sweatshop reputations (sick though it is, such reputations prevent laggards from even applying).

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Schrodinger's Copywriter says:

    I agree with him. Unfortunately, what’s needed is a total cultural mindshift. A few workers cutting a few hours off the workweek are just going to get fired.
    Personally, I am just happy that i have a job where 80% of my 55+ hour workweeks are enjoyable.