The Story of Stuff – Ch.2: Extraction

Chapter 1: Introduction

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9 thoughts on “The Story of Stuff – Ch.2: Extraction

  1. funny story that this made me think of….so when we were making plans to go to jordan, knowing we were going to be living on the red sea (where we were was where jordan and isreal both border the red sea), one would assume there would be an abunance of fish, fish markets, etc. upon arriving we were surprised to find very little fish, and what they did have was very expensive. upon further ‘research’ we found that years back locals, i assume on both sides, fished it essentially empty. their method was take a ship out drop a bomb to the sea floor and scoop the fish off the top as they rose! at least we aren’t the only ‘irresponsible’ ones! 😉

  2. Yeah, I’d have to say that was a pretty bonehead move. I heard similar stories during my time in West Africa as well.

    One thing that I hear alot of whenever people talk about environmental responsibility with Americans is the “well, at least we’re not as bad as X,Y,Z third world example” take. (I’m not saying that’s how I interpreted what you had to offer. Just made it come to mind.) Which is fair. by comparison, we do a much better job than many other nations. Alot of that has to do with resources, knowledge and access to information, but it’s not an unfair assessment.

    I guess my thing is that if we’re going to be this shining example to the world that we purport to be, I’d like to see us being far more aggressive in taking the lead on these vital issues, such as the sustainability of our planet and the conservation of our natural resources.

    It seems we always are the ones being dragged kicking and screaming to the table to negotiate environmental standards. Sometimes I wish we’d swallow our collective pride, realize that our way of life is extremely wasteful and destructive and be at the forefront of ingenuity in dealing with these issues.

    Our solution is typically – well, we’ll just dig another landfill, or drill for oil somewhere else. Polar Bears be damned! I can’t afford to pay $4 a gallon to drive my Hummer 40 miles to work each way from the suburbs!!

    The “well, at least we’re not as bad as India, or China, or some third world nation” is kind of akin to getting caught smoking cigarrettes as a kid and offering up the defense to your parents that “but Billy drinks and smokes weed!”

  3. Well I think the more things we can get going like ethanol and wind power that are pretty much totally renewable the better we will be. With that being said, I am very sick of all the preaching about how bad we are and ohh look how much we consume and no action. Listen if Al Gore wants to talk to me about how bad I am by killing off Polar Bears due to me driving 30 minutes to work in my car then he shouldnt fly around the country or live in a mansion with a 1500 electric bill each month.
    I always argue with Janet about this too because she loves to harp on me about how very wasteful I am right before she jumps in her 15 minute shower, cooks up whatever for breakfast on our electric stove, and then proceeds to drive the literally 2 miles to work rather than to walk or whatever. (no I wouldnt let her walk it in the winter)
    Sure we use many all natural products for around the house, we recycle everything we can including yard clippings and the like, we try and make sure we do the smaller things around the house to save electricty for a smaller bill. (or to save the planet as she likes to think of it) Buying better light bulbs helps, as does buying more efficient appliances but there is a limit to how far I can go keeping what I consider my standard of living. There is also a limit to the money I have to be so “green” since the products are usually more expensive.

    Quick little factoids of interest from my neck of the woods that show how easy it is to use facts to make things sound good or bad. There are 141 polluted lakes out of the 8000 some (no its not really 10k lakes in MN even though we say that) lakes in MN. This number is down from 100 years ago. There are more trees in MN today than there were when it first became a state. Sounds pretty good right?
    There is 1/8th the swampland in the state as there was 100 years ago. There are 1/4 the ducks and migratory birds because of it. They cannot find moose in the state anymore in some areas where they used to thrive because of the shorter winters. These are not due to hunting either because those zones are closed for hunting anyways. (these are all exact cause I got them from my outdoor news mag and didnt have it handy to quote but they are close) This doesnt sound so good 😦

    Now I am sure a lot of people would be thinking ohh Phil you are being rather greedy with your take on dead Polar Bears and Penguins, which is true. I can only do my little part and if I do or dont will not effect the 5 billion people who could care less about it.

    Few fun sites I have found about a few renewables. Go to these sites and see about how things are being done and there is hope. I know sometimes when I get down about issues or things that seem so futile and impossible I seek out the things being done no matter how small for reassurance.

    http://ge.ecomagination.com/site/index.html#wind/details

    http://www.deed.state.mn.us/facts/PDFs/windenergy.pdf

    http://www.mda.state.mn.us/renewable/ethanol/default.htm

    Goooo MN!

    Besides what are we going to do, invade them to make them go green? Now you are talking!

  4. iraq ratified the kyoto protocol. we didn’t. u-s-a! u-s-a!

    in all seriousness though, we use the most resources and cause the most environmental damage. we’re not the only ones, everyone is on board, but our impact – like with anything – is felt much more. but it’s not the usage of the average american so much as it is the destruction laid upon everything in the way of the ol’ corporations. i’m like a broken record, i know.

  5. Pdog: While I was in Wisconsin a couple months ago, I was pleasantly surprised by how much environmental issues were a part of the cultural consciousness in the Midwest. There was far more public energy put into doing “the little things” like using canvas shopping bags, promoting recycling, etc. I did think it was weird that they didn’t have a bottle/can deposit program. But apart from that I came home feeling like there was still more I could be doing on a personal level to make a difference.

  6. i think what bothers me about the whole “go green” thing is that people blame the government. it’s not the government, it’s you and me. i know we could get into the argument about the gov’t accepting money from these big corporations so in a sense they support them to scratch their back…etc etc.
    but the issue is, you and me buy lots of stuff with excessive packaging from big corporations everyday. or we buy cheap stuff that was made overseas in a factory that both pollutes and works people to death.
    if you and i were really concerned about this, we would be the revolution. we would be the ones asking the corporations and our family and friends to change. it’s not the government’s responsibility to tell a corporation how to run it’s business, that’s our job as consumers and fellow humans.
    if you want to change the way a business operates, tell them you’re not going to buy any more of their product until they change their ways…it’ll do alot more than a politician waving a pen.

    did i just sound like ron paul? sorry bout that.

  7. i’m reading jim’s post before i see who wrote it and saying, yeah exactly, look down to see who wrote it, and hey, that’s why i married the guy.

    but seriously. i think it’s funny to harp on the ‘corporation’, who is the corporation? most of us work for a corporation? and all of us support ‘corporations’. corporations, are just americans, you and me and the guy next door. they pay our bills, and we pay theirs.

  8. We can’t point a finger at the government or the corporations unless we’re each willing up to own up to our own individual responsibilities. What was that Jesus said? Something about planks?

    These issues are obviously complex. Just as it took a synergistic collaboration of carelessness at the individual, corporate and government level (aka a “systemic problem”) to get us into this mess. It’s going to take massive cooperation and a comprehensive plan of attack to change the culture.

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