Blinded by the Lite-Green

October 27, 2009

Bookmark and Share

http://livingincinema.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/No-Impact-Man-OS-Large.jpgWould it shock you to find out that even if you adopted the No-Impact-Man lifestyle and created zero waste, and you even convinced your local businesses to recycle you’d only, at the most, impact waste by 3% ? What if you discovered that 90% of all water used was coming from agriculture and industry and that taking longer showers really has minimal effects on water consumption? I tell you one thing, I’d shift my focus from turning the water off while I brushed my teeth to stopping the largest offenders. Any strategist would tell us the same thing: when it comes to saving the environment from “ourselves”, a lot of us are wasting our good intentions on a misguided idea that it is truly ourselves (individual “consumers”) who are ultimately responsible for these problems. Ideas and films like No Impact Man shift focus away from the real causes of global environmental crisis and allow industry and government to slide by, unnoticed.

The truth is so much scarier, and it’s easy to see why we have retreated to personal solutions; it’s easier to change a light-bulb than bring a multinational corporation or the military to its knees. So in the end, while we can all pat ourselves on the back from a puritanical perspective, many of us are just running around doing a lot of nothing under the impression we’ve used our time and energy wisely. I was so offended when I first looked into this. I didn’t want to believe that all that effort I made in my personal lifestyle choices were ultimately having very little impact on the problem at large. I didn’t want to admit that my efforts would be better leveraged in other areas.

Lite Green is the most mainstream, most digestible, and most corporate-friendly incarnation of the environmental movement (if you even want to call it that). Bright Green, with celeb advocates like Adrian Grenier, proclaim that, sure, you can drive your H2 through the McDonald’s drive-through, so long as you remember to bring your canvas bag and reusable coffee mug. It’s the movement that allows us to believe the contradiction that we can buy our way out of the hugest crises we face. Bright Green is so bright it’s blinding people to the real problems. In his August 2009 article for Orion Magazine, “Forget Shorter Showers” Author, Derrick Jensen asks:

WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

The values of conserving, reusing, and protecting what’s left are amazing, but if we are to solve the ecological and social problems we face, they must be brought their their logical conclusions. This is not a call to stop caring or to stop living simply with more compassion – it’s a call to shift focus away from what industry wants us to focus on – buying more stuff that’s labeled “green” and filling our days with behavioral rules. Let’s not confuse personal choices and social change or political revolution. Let’s start with reclaiming our time and energy and shifting our focus to the real problems, getting together, and doing something about it.


Every Meal is Illuminated

October 12, 2009

Bookmark and Share

Over the weekend, the New York Times “Food Issue” featured the ingenious Jonathan Safran Foer’s (“Everything Is Illuminated”) article “Against Meat“. This article is adapted from his coming book, “Eating Animals,” which will be published in November. You can read an interview with him about the project here. Thanks to our friends at Dawnwatch for pointing this out!

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child’s behalf-his casual questioning took on an urgency  His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong. Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer’s profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we’ve told-and the stories we now need to tell. – Amazon.com

http://www.theyoungandhungry.com/uploads/images/Jonathon%20Safran%20Foer.jpg


Discovery of the Century?

October 9, 2009

Bookmark and Share

An image showing the approximate placement of skeleton elements recovered. Some pieces found separately in the excavation are rejoined here.“It is often assumed that we humans are selfish, competitive and warlike by nature…” But a new female fossil called Ardi, dating back 4.4 million years, is on the verge of rewriting the history of human evolution – and resolving some controversial debates about human nature. It turns out that we originated from a cooperative creature, as opposed to a competitive creature. This speaks powerfully to rethinking the justifications many of us use about oppression, competition, and war just being “in our nature”.  Top that with Ardi being a broken-forest dweller without enlarged canines, who’s on a plant-based diet! This is amazing stuff. Read the whole article here.http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/files/2009/09/ardi-recon440.jpg


EMPTY V: The Legendary John Norris

September 7, 2009

John Norris might be one of the most recognizable faces to anyone who liked music during the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. John had one of the longest-running VJ careers on MTV, and has incredible perspective on where we stand concerning pop-culture. His environmentalism, veganism, and massive, glitter-crusted Rolodex of important musicians spanning a quarter-century make his perspectives worth considering. I sat down with John recently at the Jivamukti Cafe in NYC to talk about the state of mass media, music, and his personal politics.


Leather Jacket: The Rebel Icon That Lost Its Gall

July 30, 2009

by Joshua Katcher

james_dean

Since the first Harley Davidson Motorcycle Jacket appeared in the United States in 1919, there might not be a symbol that resonates more clearly in almost every subculture than the leather jacket. From rock stars, punks, bikers, to hipsters, fashionistas, greasers, goths, metal-heads, and even the not-so-subcultured like military aviators and the police – the leather jacket has largely defined ‘cool’ since the word cool was made to mean something new by jazz legend, Lester Young, in 1933.  In addition, many fashion experts regard leather as having unsurpassed sex-appeal – so much that it has one of the most http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/ramones.jpgpopular fetish followings. Originally made for its functionality of durability and protective properties, it has come to suggest masculinity, and strength – and more recently as high-end designers cash in our desires to look cool and strong, wealth.

Sid Vicious’ suicide note instructed: “Bury me in my leather jacket…” Images of James Dean, Elvis, Marlon Brando, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Michael Jackson, The Fonz, Cathy Gale, Indiana Jones, and even the Black Panthers and the Russian Bolsheviks come to mind when we think of leather jackets.  Hollywood helped launch the leather jacket as a symbol of intimidation and rebelliousness early on with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in Leather Bomber Jackets, and films like The Wild One, Easy Rider, Grease and Mad Max .

What is a leather jacket? Well, to be simple, it’s the preserved skin-organ of an animal, torn from its body, treated with chemicals, dyed, and cut up into pieces to be used as a “fabric”.  Like all flesh, without the toxic tanning process, leather would rot and decompose. Horses, goats, cows, calves, lamb, sheep, pigs and “exotic” animals like crocodiles, ostrich, and many kinds of snakes are all used for their skins. Other species are hunted and killed specifically for their skins, including zebras, bison, water buffaloes, boars, kangaroos, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, turtles, and lizards. Dairy cows are also turned into leather once they are “spent” and their calves become expensive calfskin once slaughtered for veal. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global leather industry slaughters more that a billion animals and tans their skins each year, globally.

tannery pollution in Bangladesh

The tanning is especially problematic. If a billion animals are killed for their skins per year, you do the math on how many gallons of toxic chemicals are used to turn that into leather jackets. Communities surrounding tanneries in India, Kentucky, and Sweden report high instances of leukemia and cancer, and the chemicals used to tan leather, including heavy metals like chromium, find their way into water supplies and river systems. Animals on factory farms in the U.S. produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population, without the benefit of waste treatment plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has even acknowledged that livestock pollution is the greatest threat to our waterways. Turning skin into leather also requires mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based.

Eco-friendly leather is a myth and a travesty. Based simply on the amount of resources it takes to raise animals – from feed crops, pastureland, water, and fossil fuels, to the record-breaking amounts of greenhouse gasses emitted by cattle (livestock production is the #1 cause of greenouse gas emissions), even if, at the very final stage of this environmentally devastating process, a “vegetable-based” tanning process is used, it does not erase the colossal leather boot-print that raising livestock has on ecosystems . What also becomes clear is the myth that synthetics are environmentally inferior to so-called “natural” materials like leather.

Many people see leather as by-product of the meat and dairy industry, and justify wearing it with the rationalization “ The animal is dead already, so we may as well make use of the skin”. But would the animal be dead if there weren’t a demand for it’s flesh and skin in the first place? According to the USDA,  the skin of the animal represents “the most economically important byproduct of the meat packing industry.” So it isn’t just someone making use of scraps – it is a profitable industry in itself.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Cow_slaughter.jpg

It’s clear that the leather jacket is a force to be reckoned with, but as our relationships to animals and ecosystems evolve, what does the leather jacket really mean, now? It all boils down to power – like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, the leather trench represents his potentially intimidating and powerful appearance. Much like the meaning of fur, which has come to represent arrogant indifference towards animals, leather is headed down that same path, towards being a symbol of ignorance and indifference.

“The image of leather no longer defines outcasts, rebels, and counter-culture; instead, it is the epitome of mainstream, problematic relationships with ecosystems and violent and exploitative relationships with animals.”

The gorgeous illusions spun by the Goliath fashion industry are, indeed, spellbinding. And it’s no wonder the leather industry, with its orthodox relationship to the oldest, largest and most powerful http://www.truelegends.com/images/pce15.jpgfashion houses, has seen such consistent success. We hear writers, journalists and experts avow the nature of leather – how this “material” molds to our shape, breathes, and can withstand extreme punishment. But, it is not a “material” per se (any more than the Jewish hair used to stuff mattresses and pillows from the Nazi death-camps was a “material”). It was someone’s very skin. How can anyone be taken seriously as a compassionate, conscientious, and ecologically responsible individual, while boasting such a powerful symbol of both ecological devastation and animal suffering?

We know better. This isn’t a leap of faith – the evidence is right there in front of us. Not only are there countless documented cases of animals being boiled and dismembered alive, but in India, one of the largest leather exporters, the cows have their tails broken and chili-peppers rubbed in their eyes to keep them moving on their exhaustive journey outside the boarders of India where they can legally be killed specifically for their skins. Snakes and lizards may be skinned alive because of the belief that live flaying makes leather more supple. Kangaroos are slaughtered by the millions every year; their skins are considered prime material for soccer shoes. The conditions and treatment these animals face are horrifying.

Losing its gall. The image of leather no longer defines outcasts, rebels, and counter-culture; instead, it is the epitome of mainstream, problematic realtionships with ecosystems and violent and exploitative relationships with animals. It is woefully ordinary, and painfully tired. When you wear leather, you are no longer saying “I am powerful, individual, and cool“, you are saying “I am environmentally irresponsible and I hate animals“.


Lawn Order: Spatial Victims

May 26, 2009

LawnCare

Aside from the 4-B’s of Mainstream American Male Identity: Beer, Ball, Bitches & Beef, there are a few other realms of manly-manifestation. The lawn is one of them. If you grew up in suburbia, like I did, you may have spent your summers mowing lawns, weed-waking, poisoning so-called ‘pests’, and cursing both the dandelions and the neighbors who so carelessly let their laws go wild!

I’ll never forget the summer my father (a man who grew up in Brooklyn – and who, upon purchasing his first small house in the suburbs of upstate New York with my mother, proceeded to mow the lawn every single day of the warm seasons), in a fit of rage and as a last-stitch effort to communicate with the new Chinese-speaking neighbors who had let the grass get tall, drew a cartoon of a person mowing a lawn and left it in their mailbox. The next step would be a stealthy midnight-mow, which I knew was dead-serious. I also will never forget the bizarre behavior of our other neighbors who spent most days on their hands and knees cutting the lawn with scissors first, weeding, and then mowing. The saddest part was, their lawn never really even looked good after all that elbow-grease!

Lawn4

I was indoctrinated to the ways of the lawn early on, and I made a job of it,  dangerous and tedious as it was. I always felt a small pang of grief imagining that microcosm beneath the grass canopy subjected to a huge, gas-powered, spinning blade. I empathized with the crawly things when I would picture a similar scenario happening to my house. I also remember thinking how absolutely silly the whole idea was, but I could never really articulate exactly why.

Green carpets. Turf. Perfectly mowed, lush, thick, emerald yards with no weeds, pests or brown-patches. It’s almost like a myth; the perfect lawn. Commercials for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and lawn-care hardware tell us that suburban-utopia is just within reach, and when you buy into the myth by buying their products and working away homogenizing a little patch of nature, your neighbors will love you, your community will rejoice, and your self-worth, financial worth, and status as a man will be carved in stone! Right?

But what exactly is a lawn? Where did this tradition come from, and how does this $30 billion industry of seeds, fertilizers, mowers, power-tools, and water continue to enthrall the masses with illusions of a threatless, perfectly-controlled environment? Most importantly, what are the ramifications of this phenomenon for our health, the planet, and our psyches?

The lawn certainly has not gone unnoticed. It is the subject of the books “The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession” by Virginia Scott Jenkins, and “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn” by Ted Steinberg.

http://brunleabooks.com/garden/graphics/Jenkins%20-%20Lawn%20-%20American%20Obsession.jpg

Both of these books explore something so ubiquitous that most of us have never even stopped to ponder it’s meaning. The first thing to note is that the lawn is almost completely American – and as the American lifestyle continues to enthrall and infiltrate the globe, the lawn is short to follow. In the sixteenth century and continuing through the eighteenth, the “launde”, an open space or glade maintained by laborers wielding scythes, began to appear throughout the residences of British aristocrats. Obviously, it soon came to represent the leisure of class privilege, wealth, and power, and the culmination of lawn culture, according to Jenkins, was the establishment of twentieth century golf courses and country clubs. But as Steinburg argues, it never became the moral crusade it has become in America quite possibly because grass grows so effortlessly in Britain, and turfgrass is not at all native to North America – not even Kentucky Bluegrass. The early colonizers’ cattle quickly destroyed the native grasses, not used to grazing, and in came bluegrass seeds from Europe to fill that niche.

On a deeper level, the lawn represents a desire to control unpredictable, wild nature. Some anthropologists argue that that lawn comes from self-defense. When nomadic gatherer-hunters began settling into sedentary and semi-sedentary homes, they cleared the vegetation surrounding their dwellings in order to foresee potential danger coming – a predator, a snake, an enemy. The lawn is a bastion among the fearful and dangerous wilderness. Even more so, it is the manifestation of the deepest-seeded principals of our culture and civilization: man’s control over nature. Therefore, those who let their lawns go wild are threats to the foundation of civilization itself. Those who fail to uphold this symbol fail to be Americans. This is an unconscious concern, of course. I’d be startled to see my father articulate this to the Chinese family whose lawn-gone-wild was “destroying our neighborhood”.

http://media.loudounextra.com/img/news/tease/2008/06/17/board_tease_t599.jpg

My father’s anger is not alone. Stories of pissed-off neighbors leaving notes, making death-threats, and organizing at midnight to mow the black-sheeps’ lawns are as bountiful and insidious as crabgrass and dandelions. The disconnect among American immigrants to their lawns is also hugely misunderstood, and often met with xenophobia, racism and aggression.

Lawn1

The lawn is largely considered the male domain in the same sense that the backyard garden is traditionally considered the woman’s. And with it, comes an ever-expanding arsenal of tools made for killing and controlling. A man with a good lawn is simply seen as a powerful protector and provider. A place for the kids to play is also a defense against ticks and whatever other creatures could hide in less manicured yards.

Environmentally speaking, the partnership between the USDA and the US Golf Association (which made it possible for grass to be grown in all regions of this country) has been devastating to ecosystems with the overuse of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Couple that with suburban sprawl and the demands for water in dry regions of the country specifically for lawn maintenance, and the lawn reveals itself as a remarkable environmental problem.

FACTS

  • NASA scientists estimate that turf grass is the single-largest irrigated crop in the United States. According to the Cristina’s study about 128,000 square kilometers or nearly 32 million acres of the United States are covered with turf grass.
  • A 2002 Harris Survey suggests as a nation we spend $28.9 billion yearly on lawns. To put that into a personal perspective that translates into approximately $1,200 per household
  • 50 -70% of all urban fresh water is used for watering lawns. More than half this amount is wasted, because of inappropriate timing or dosage. Nearly all the water used could be save by appropriate use of native landscaping that does not require any watering beyond natural rainfall.
  • Air Pollution
  • 78 million households in the United States utilize garden pesticides.
  • $700 million is spent annually on pesticides for lawns in the US.
  • 67 million lbs of synthetic pesticides are added to lawns in the US each year.
  • We use three times as much pesticide on our lawns per acre as we do on our agricultural crops.
  • $5.25 billion is spent on fossil-fuel-derived fertilizer for U.S. lawns. The majority of this fertilizer is wasted because of improper timing or dosage and becomes a source of pollution to surface or ground water. Most of this expense and pollution could be eliminate by proper timing, proper dosage, or intelligent use of compost and other organic fertilizers.
  • A typical power lawnmower pollutes as much in one hour as driving an automobile for 20 miles. This can be greatly reduced by using 4-stroke gas lawn mowers or electric mowers. Where feasible, it can be totally eliminated by using a hand-powered reel mower.
  • 60 to 70 thousand severe accidents, some fatal, result from lawnmower use, as well as significant damage to human hearing.
  • 580 million gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers. Much of this goes to pollute the air by evaporation, or to harm vegetation and surface or ground water by spillage.

So, what are the alternatives? I think growing your own, organic food is probably the healthiest, smartest, and most economic solution to the virtually useless and destructive lawn. “Food Not Lawns” and “Edible Estates” are two books that explore this revolutionary act. Talk about local food! And free! Sounds good to me.

Food Not LawnsEdible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn


LIFE+STYLE

April 27, 2009

When was the last time you went to a panel discussion of everything eco-aweosme? Next Tuesday, Cinco De Mayo (May 5th), please mark this down on your calendars! Yours Truly, along with Chloe Jo Berman of The Girlie Girl Army, Michael DuDell of Ecorazzi.com and VEGdaily.com & Elizabeth Olsen of Olsen Haus Shoes, will be discussing the latest and greatest in green lifestyle excellence.

nfevent5_5_09

May 5th, 8pm
North Face Store,
2101 Broadway (@ 73rd)
New York, NY 10023
(212) 362-1000
1 2 3 trains to 72nd st

*This is a FREE event w/ raffle prize!


Food Moovie, Veg Apps, & Earth Week Sale

April 20, 2009

These Neto Stripes, Plimadrille Shoes, Black High-tops, and Contrast Plimsoles are great for spring!

H by Hudson Neto Stripe Slip-On Shoes ASOS Plimadrille Shoes

Gram 383g High-Top Trainers ASOS Contrast Binding Plimsolls

FOOD, INC. is a film exposing the food industry’s dirty secrets:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.


earthday_promo.jpgGilt Groupe’s Earthweek sales include Edun, Matt + Nat, Stella McCartney, Loomstate, and Stuart + Brown. Gilt Groupe is a website offering invitation-only sales of coveted and luxury fashion lines at discounts up to 70% off retail.

I am inviting all my readers to join. Simply click HERE.

.

.

.

Check out the VeganXpress app for your iPod/iPhone. It lets you know what is vegan at popular chain restaurants and fast-food places. If you’re ever stuck in the middle-of-nowhere, this could be quite the life-saver.

.

.

.

.

http://www.ingridnewkirk.com/photos/photo-IngridWdog1.jpgIf you’ve never heard Ingrid Newkirk speak, this is a must. Listen to Ingrid’s speech at The International Non-violence Conference in Bethlehem in 2005. It is the first time anyone has been invited to speak on a non-human issue.



DB Interviews: NIGEL BARKER

April 9, 2009

nigelbarker

Nigel Barker cares about stuff – and he’s not a sissy. I recently chatted on the phone with this amazingly talented, compassionate, and influential photographer. We talked about everything from his fashion industry work, to his time spent in Haiti exposing some of the worst poverty, to his documentation of the controversial seal hunt. He doesn’t think that you can be a fur-wearing environmentalist, and he likes to shop thrift. Listen to our conversation:


___________

Things We Talked About:


Killer Bacon Bugs, Bid on Stars & Recycling Myths

March 18, 2009

1. An Op-Ed published by the New York Times last week has linked killer MRSA, also known as the  antibiotic-resistant “Flesh Eating Bacteria” to more than 18,000 deaths per year in the US. That’s more than AIDS. And what is the source of this superbug? You guessed it: cheap pig products. “Probably from the routine use — make that the insane overuse — of antibiotics in livestock feed. This is a system that may help breed virulent “superbugs” that pose a public health threat to us all.

http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/data/image_3_821.jpg

A small Dutch study found pig farmers there were 760 times more likely than the general population to carry MRSA (without necessarily showing symptoms), and Scientific American reports that this strain of MRSA has turned up in 12 percent of Dutch retail pork samples.

Now this same strain of MRSA has also been found in the United States. A new study by Tara Smith, a University of Iowa epidemiologist, found that 45 percent of pig farmers she sampled carried MRSA, as did 49 percent of the hogs tested.

Death on a Factory Farm

And now with the NYT review of the Documentary “Death on Factory Farm” which is taking HBO viewers by

storm, I can only wonder how these animals that are smarter than dogs (yet some dogs chew delightfully on their dried ears & limbs) will fare int he coming months? And au contraire Mike Hale and the Wiles’s community, we can all eat veggies and thrive.

2. Bid on me! Help Farm Sanctuary raise some funds, and get a private brunch for two prepared by yours truly! Also bid on items from Bill Mahr, Amy Smart, Joan Jett, Chloe Jo, Daniela Sea, Heather Mills, Matt & Nat, Wendy Kidd, Dan Piraro, Gloria Steinem, Joelle Katcher, Rachael Sage, 30 Seconds to Mars, Maureen Burke, Gabrielle Brick, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Nigel Barker, and more!

lot photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo Item Photo

3. Is recycling really all that it claims to be? Have you ever been confronted by someone who is a total recycling skeptic and didn’t know what to say?

Read: “Recycling Is Too Difficult and 9 Other Obnoxious Myths

Read the Economist article: “The Truth About Recycling

Read: The Economics of Recycling

Watch: William McDonough on ‘Cradle to Cradle’

Recycling is a tricky issue because it’s really a problem of over-production and over-consumption. But one thing is certain. We do not have infinite resources on this planet, and people who are in the industries that use up these resources, and are in positions to do something about it have a responsibility to figure out how to not leave devastated ecosystems for future generations. Just because the recycling systems aren’t perfect does not justify throwing caution to the wind and continuing ‘business as usual’.

The real issue is that recycling is not enough. Reuse is better, and ‘green’ products with toxic by-products need to be more thoroughly sourced, because there are products that come from closed loop systems, also known as EIN Eco Industrial Networking or EIP- Environmental Industrial Parks. But again, the root problem is still there.

Bottler of an idea ... Crushed drink bottles at a recycling plant in Chullora

One major problem is that recycling systems are often based on dollars as opposed to ecological and personal well-being. Dollars are abstract and when you work towards achieving such an abstraction (as opposed to working towards sustainability, good health, community, friendship, etc) the consequences to the physical world become secondary, when in fact ecosystems are primary and without functioning, healthy ones, we’d all be gone. The reason recycling appears to be useless to some people is not because re-rendering products into new products is impossible – it’s because they are seeing the effects of basing a recycling system upon a system that in itself is not sustainable.

Does that mean we shouldn’t recycle? Of course not! It means we should do that, and much much more! It also means the problems haven’t been solved and we need to get some serious critical thinking done.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.