Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I've been meaning to add a "Good, bad and the ugly guide to Ann Arbor eating and trash." I need to think about this more, and come up with a list of recommendations for each place you go to, so that you, too, may be able to reduce your trash generation there.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
My co-workers are BBQ afficionados. We traveled to a fabled spot yesterday - a local favorite sporting homemade sauce, super-sweet iced tea, and walls covered in gator (UF) memorabilia interspersed with signed photographs of homegrown politicians. Unfortunately no BBQ place I know of down here is like Slow’s in Detroit with its spectacular veggie options. My lunch choices were limited: coleslaw, potato salad, and key lime pie. What struck me as I stood in line, thanks to Darshan’s influence, was that every single food item involved a piece of trash: styrofoam trays for sandwiches, plastic containers with lids for salads, boxes for dessert, and plastic cups and tableware. Paper napkins are a given. Our group of 27 was fixin’ to use about 170 pieces of trash, of which I contributed 6.
The dark hilarity of it all was that nestled in between the two trash cans was another container, above which was a sign: "Please be green and recycle your soda cans!"
The rest of the day I pondered what would have to happen to wake up everyone (myself included) to our constant use and abuse of our surroundings and make a drastic change. Will we ever stop doing things just because they are easy and stop using things just because they are supplied to us by those profiting from their use?
These questions are also relevant to the episode of The Story I listened to this morning that spoke of the horrid exploitation of sharks for their fins. By some accounts, 90% of the world’s shark population has been depleted for this very reason (about 100 million sharks killed per year), in order for rising middle and upper classes to feel secure in themselves slurping as kings once did the tasteless cartilage. As a wise person once said, money is the root of all kinds of evil. The pursuit of it certainly has been the main destroyer of the world.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Here's a picture of an albatross chick (a marine bird) that died because it was fed plastic.
In the next post, I'll post about the the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly restaurants in Ann Arbor regarding trash, and some tips for all of you on how to avoid trash.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Let's make sure that people have health insurance by having the government create a competitive market for insurance providers. Let's create a variety of different school types and have states make up plans of how they'll improve over the next five years so they'll get money, and let's provide incentives for teachers so that they do their job, and if not, fire them. Let's create legislation to make sure that chemicals used in our foods, for cleaning up oil spills, for treating medical waste, can somehow be tested for their impacts on our earth. What unfortunately we do when we try to address problems in such a manner is that we add even more complexity to our lives, and to our problems. Then, when we realise that there are problems with our so-called "solutions," we address those problems, not the original problems, to make sure that we don't further dig ourselves into a hole. We lose sight and track of what we actually have to deal with - deep-rooted cultural, social, economic, ethical, moral and environmental discrepancies and problems in how we interact with ourselves, animals, non-sentient beings, and our earth.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
It seems like there is a certain trust and acceptance that people show when purchasing fresh, raw foods, like apples, cucumbers and onions. When I say trust, I mean that these foods have been exposed to people and the elements and have potential to be contaminated, but people buy them nonetheless. In the produce aisles of stores, I've never really seen warnings or labels or nutrition facts for these foods, apart from their names. But it seems like processed or cooked foods are always labeled and tagged and marked with tons of information, and packaged very carefully, even if there isn't really an issue with the food going bad if opened. Packaging ends up as trash. But is what I am saying imply that if you package processed foods, you should probably package fresh foods?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The words "development," "developed," and "developing" are used so frequently and nonchalantly today that people stop to realise what they mean. (I guess that is the case with any "word of the day" like "sustainable.") These words have been used to describe communities, regions, countries, economies and landscapes. Why do these words mean what they mean? And who has defined what they mean? And why have we accepted the definitions of those who have defined them?
On the surface, ascribing the adjective "developing" to something is a good thing - there is motion, there is ambition. But ambition for what? To go where? What is being "developed" and why does that thing need to be "developed?" Is there anything wrong in just letting that thing be where it is, in the same state that we found it? Today the West has defined the word "developing" to mean having control over and exploiting natural resources that country has. Or, it can mean a country providing services for one of the "developed" countries. People around the world, unfortunately, have accepted these definitions. The outcome of this arrogant definition is that humans everywhere are on the wagon of trying to make some thing, that thing, any thing theirs - they want control over it, to see what it can do for themselves and their families. It is because someone is willing to "pay for it," whatever it is. Why isn't there value in leaving something untouched and unviolated?
When does a country move from "developing" to "developed?" Why does the definition of "developing" not include other unquantifiable things like culture, community, kinship, compassion and love? These are sentiments that will stay around much longer than money and values of GDP, than presidents and CEOs would care to admit. A focus on values of dividends, profits and revenues leads people to drill for oil where they shouldn't. They then boast how much money they make, and how much the area around them has "developed" and how many families they "support." But when something goes wrong, terribly wrong, irreversibly wrong, those very people have the arrogance to take a moral and ethical high ground by saying "we do the right thing," "we will restore the Gulf to the state it was in before." But why now is the conversation moving away from your "development" to unquantifiables like doing the "right" thing and "the state something was in before you touched it?" I hope it is because they feel, deep down, that they are wrong, and that all "development" isn't good, and that leaving some things unviolated is more valuable than the job it will provide for someone, somewhere.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
In the larger scheme of things, however, I think this is a very important lesson. Unless you are steadfast and vigilant about something, whatever it is, people will try to either convince you otherwise, or you will subconciously compromise your ethics, morals and principles regarding that issue. In the end, compromising will have eaten away at all that you've strived for. I am not saying that there is no room for "compromising" in life. But for what is essential and dear to us, compromising is tantamount failure. How much are we willing to compromise to "lessen impact" on our birds, amphibians, flowers, trees and water? No compromises. I can do more, and I must.