When thinking about drugs, one doesn’t usually associate an environmental impact with the production or manufacturing process, however, the toll on natural habitat is real. From Marijuana grow operations in our National Forests to prescription drugs in our waterways, modern chemistry and drug production is having a profound impact on our world.
Gone are the small patches or the small scale grassroots ‘hippie’ farms, instead they have been replaced with large scale slash and burn grow operations with toxic chemicals and fertilizers for maximum production. Left behind are toxic dump sites, full of trash, chemicals and a polluted wasteland. Reminiscent of the moonshiners of old (who are still in operation today) who used the forest to hide their operations, these modern day drug growers have increased in scale and destruction. › Continue reading
With the month nearly over, you may not have realized that October is GMO month. A very controversial topic, Genetically Modified or (also known as Genetically Engineered) crops are becoming increasingly abundant in ingredients of common foods without your knowledge. How common you ask?
Based on USDA (US Department of Agriculture) data, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.
According to the USDA’s figures for 2009, 93% of cotton, 93% of soy, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO. It is estimated that over 90% of canola grown is GMO. Other commercially produced Genetically Engineered plants include varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya.
With corn products (primarily high fructose corn syrup) being present in everything from soda to salad dressing, you may be consuming more GMO foods than you think. But is this a bad thing? According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it is perfectly fine, and they are the ones who are protecting our food, aren’t they? Depends on if you believe GMOs should be proven safe for us, or by us.
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After all, it was only the court jester who could laugh at the king. That kind of insight is invaluable.
Humor provides perspective, an ability to seeing ourselves and our views outside of our normal, critical awareness. Humor can also be a way to work through resistance (internal or external) or barriers of opposing view points and to communicate with an emotional depth otherwise too risky for seriousness.
I want to reassure you here. I write for a green-living, environmentally conscious website. I’ve committed the past 5 odd years of my life to the study of and immersion into the world of environmental issues, policy, management, social movements, etc. I love the fact that I am likely to see a Prius on my way to work or the grocery store. But still, there was something that was bothering me about the scenario. And it didn’t take long to realize what was at the root of my problem. › Continue reading
But maybe we in the environmental community shouldn’t really be so surprised. In this New York Times article, it’s reiterated that ‘Mr. Obama said several times during his presidential campaign that he supported expanded offshore drilling. He noted in his state of the union address in January that weaning the country from imported oil would require “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.’” › Continue reading
Check out what TreeHugger.com has to say on the subject here.
Firstly, I would like to preface this blog by saying I would recommend people intent on their promotion of environmental awareness to stick to lawful means of expressing that activism. That said, I also believe there should be more of a discussion on the understanding, legally and culturally, of “eco-terrorism”. What is it? Why is it used? What purpose does it have? What results does it achieve?
A large part of activism is the spreading of awareness of issues. People are often desensitized to issues of environmental crisis in the face of sensationalized media overkill. I think that activists utilize their right to freedom of speech to express intense concern for issues and to spread awareness. The more common strategies do this without putting human lives at risk or result in the destruction of property. The umbrella labeling of all environmental activists as “terrorists” is absurd and rather slanderous, to be frank.
If you watched the superbowl this past weekend, then you are probably familiar with the ‘Green Police’ ad by Audi touting their diesel A3 TDI. While the spot was quite amusing, it can also be a bit sad as that is what many people think of the green movement.
I don’t want to over dramatize it, because it was obviously poking fun a the extreme behaviors and righteousness of some in the eco friendly community, but it makes it easy for others to say: “see how silly all this green stuff is.”
With an EPA-rated 42 mpg on the highway and a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the new A3 TDI is one of the ‘greenest’ cars out there, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it is still a car and a major contributor to greenhouse gasses, pollution, energy and waste- even if you use biodiesel. If I was to really pick apart the commercial, its quite hilarious that one offender was arrested for requesting a plastic bag while the guy driving a car (a 5 seater all alone at that) would be praised. I mean what kind of backwards environmentalism is that?
It really is quite a dilemma, the question of brand and style management and environmental stewardship has been at the forefront of controversy since the H&M and Walmart clothing destruction and disposal incident. This conjures up a similar dumpster diving topic of food disposal by grocery stores and restaurants, food safety concerns can pose some justification while the destruction of clothes can be more difficult to explain.
Given that people are dying of exposure around the world and there really doesn’t seem to be any cause to destroy perfectly good clothes, there are two issues one must consider- Brand management and the fragile economy of clothing manufacturing. In some ways they can be interconnected although one is detrimental to a company, the other can doom an industry.
Brand management to some is not an excuse, but in our society it is a necessity. Much like the regulation of food production to maintain pricing, people starve as a consequence, however, it is needed to maintain the industry. If a brand is de-valued, it can bring about the death of the company. If you had just purchased a new jacket at a store for $100, and then started to see that same jacket being worn by homeless, showing up in large quantities at second hand stores and charities, it would probably disappoint you or make you feel like you got ripped off (you paid decent money for something that others are getting at a heavy discount or even free). Not only does it sabotage the ‘style’ (style inherently involves an exclusivity factor or comparison with ‘stylish’ people), but it de-values the item knowing that you over-paid for it. This will cause a collapse in the brand as no one will want to pay that much for their items if they can get it cheaper elsewhere, or know that ‘societal unsavory individuals’ will be wearing them at the same time.
The other, and probably least recognized issue is the affect on the clothing industry as a whole. This has been a particular problem in very poor regions of Africa and South America. The infiltration of charities giving away free clothes has destroyed any hope of a local industry and sadly closed down the manufacture of traditional style clothes. In areas of true extreme poverty, where the chance of death from exposure is a real risk, these practices have indeed saved lives. It is the collateral damage from an over-abundance of these items which has spread throughout these areas that wreak havoc on the local clothing industry.
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