Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Early realisations, thoughts and links

Here are some other rules (and a couple questions) that I have:
6) I am going to keep every piece of trash/recyclable material that is inadvertantly (and I guess sometimes on purpose, e.g. plastic top of glass milk container) generated by me for the entire year, except magazines that I get that other people can use (some may ask me, "Why not cancel your subscriptions?" I am currently receiving National Geographic, The New Yorker, Paste Magazine, and Orion)
7) There are some things I cannot control - even if I pay at the People's Food Co-op in cash, the frickin' machine still prints a receipt. These items will be saved.
8) Travel to India...hmm. I mean, it's home, right? I have to go...right? What do you guys think? Should/can/is it even possible for this period count towards the one year?

I've already realised that this project would not be possible if I lived in a town or city that was not like Ann Arbor. Having talked with Ashlea, I realised that there are very few places like the People's Food Co-op or By the Pound in most places. So, I guess I am only able to undertake this no trash business because (and now I'm going to sound like a natural resource extraction guy) the resources for me to do so are available already. I am sure it would be really difficult to do so in a place like Huron, OH. Maybe impossible?

Another thing I realised is that the way I was brought up in India already led me to not use many of the "conveniences" available here, so I guess there is much less for me to give up. Also, I realised it is important for me to tell people (especially waiters/waitresses) what I'm doing so I don't get stuck with three straws as I did at Charley's a couple weeks ago, watching Arsenal play Barcelona.

I have some questions for people reading this blog. Let me know what you think:

1) Does free literature (for example, The Corporate Examiner's "Losing Faith in Economics" issue that I got at an ecological economics panel discussion) count towards trash/recyclables that I accumulate over the year? What about the Michigan Daily? These things are free, and so in the traditional economic sense of the word, am I consuming something that would somehow affect the larger "market"?
2) Why is sustainability important to people and students of this day?


I was talking to Brett Levy about whether or not it is possible to disaggregate between conducting yourself in a more ecologically/sustainability-conscious way because you really mean to, or because it is the "cool thing to consume today." We were talking about this because the words "green," "sustainable," "sustainability" are being used by so many people, companies and corporations today (the homepages of Rio Tinto and Anglo-American talk about how "sustainable" they are), and at the same time, I am getting the feeling that somehow being "green" is the hip thing to consume for younger people my age. Brett thinks this disaggregation may not be possible...

What do you think?

Next time, I'll post pictures of what trash I guess I've "generated" in these past two weeks. Until then...

Voyage to study plastic 'island'


Warning on plastic's toxic threat



  1. The link below is similarly themed. It may help you get over some obstacles when you are trying to avoid waste.


  2. Cannot you use an online subscription to your magazines?

  3. I think by reading a free magazine you still contribute to waste because you see advertising and therefore are responsible for the waste's creation.