Sunday, April 30, 2006
Some British newcaster was on a talk show explaining the reason why Americans can't conserve. He talked not only about gas guzzlers but about water conservation, land conservation, and recycling. He rightly said that Americans are wasteful, and we are.
Back in the 1960s when I a sophomore in high school I wrote to the BIC people trying to shame them for creating the disposable razor and ask them why they didnt' continue with the double blade safety razor, which was more ecological sound sinc ethe metal blades could be recycled. I said that any product made from plastic was based on petrolum, which was not somethng that could be safely recycled, therefore it was an "end product". I asked how Bic could justify that. The answer? Convience.
I wrote to Pampers saying its product would create landfill problems. In the begining they told women to dunk the soiled Pamer in the toilet and flush away the fecal matter and the inner lining of the plastic pants. Those were the instructions, but people balked at that, Actually putting your "hands" in a toilet - oh yuck! So women just put the soiled Pampers int he "trash can".
I told them their product was not biodegradabel and that the Pampers would cause toxic runoff to contaminate water supplies underground. I was told that the convience they created for mothers outweighed the possible problems. Basically, don't worry about the future little girl, it interferes with our profit margin.
I was told these new products were a mark of progress and in time the manufacturers were sure that some technology would be created to solve any problems that would arise.
Guess what? They didn't. Gues what? I was right?
And now the population is unable to recall a life without throw aways.
We throw away plastic meat trays. We toss shoes (no sense paying to repair plastics). We trash clothes, appliances, and electronics because we are encouraged to "upgrade" and manufacturers no longer make replacement parts to let you keep repairing something. Nope, no profit margin in fixing things. Just trash 'em and buy new ones. By a new cell phone and it goes bad, repair it? Nope, replace it, the old cell phone didn't have the latest features anyhow and it's obsolete, at least 6 months old. So trash it.
New computer? Of course, why try to upgrade something that only has one of the boxy 13 inch monitors? It's all flat screen now. Trash the old, buy new. Create more junk. Fill more landfills with plastic and murcury and zinc and so on and so on and so on.
And the landfills grow larger, and the toxic leaks contiminate water and land and all is right in the corporate profit making world.
Before it's too late I hope someone teaches conservation again.
Or is it already too late?