Posted by: martinworster | November 6, 2008

138. RECYCLE USA

_dsc0037From what I’ve seen, the US seriously lags behind Europe when it comes to an awareness about the environment, recycling and sustainable living. That’s hardly front page news. Bush’s repeated knockbacks to the Kyoto protocol symbolised America’s stance on protecting the environment. It was a massive Fuck You to the rest of the world.

In fact mention Kyoto in conversation and most people here have never heard of it. That’s not surprising. The press here isn’t likely to give much space to a situation in which guilty America, a country that produces 22.2 % of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, didn’t want to sign up with the rest of the world to try and reduce this. It’s disgusting. A disgrace. How does that pig faced selfishness look to the rest of the world? Like pig faced selfishness.

There just doesn’t seem to the awareness or any sense of urgency about this situation and it is dreadfully worrying. I am not saying Britain and Europe can be smug and sanctomonious over their environmental advances as there is still massive room for improvement in sustainable living there also. But it’s very depressing living here, not to mention scary. Waste all around, disposable living maxed out and gas guzzling ignorance squared. Admittedly there are more environmentally progressive places to live than Orange County and LA – like Northern California, Oregon, Vermont, so my judgements may be harsh. But then Southern California is probably light years ahead of most of the interior US.

Terrorism is inaccurately seen as a much bigger threat. It’s presented by the government as the number one thing to fear, a mind control to justify military action in the Middle East to ultimately extract more oil. Oil and weapons. The two biggest political lobbys in the US. Fat lot of good that will be when we’re either underwater or in a desert.

The extreme consumerist throwaway society is scary. Everything is thrown away. In Huntington Beach we are told that you can throw everything away and it is recycled at the plant. I don’t believe this. It’s a myth to suit lazy lifestyles. If it was the case, how accurate could it be? Would it be able to sort paper, plastic bottle tops and organic waste? No – it all gets thrown into toxic landfills. I do all my own recycling.

One good thing they do have here is the system of rebates for some plastic, glass and aluminium containers, from 2 cents to 5 cents depending on size. This creates a mini economy of people hunting out this waste from bins and streets to earn money. Probably more than the minimum wage. You see people with massive bags full of cans to take to the depot. A great system – one that would work well in the UK, creating money for those who need it most whilst helping the environment. A perfect sustainability.

The frustrating thing is when I recycle the items have to have the State recycling logo to be eligible. So not every product will get the rebate. Plastic caps, shower gel containers, fruit juice bottles, loads of other plastic containers. They can still recycle it but you don’t get any money. The people look incredulous that my primary concern with recycling is not to get a couple of cents rebate on each item. You also can’t recycle alumumium food cans. Disgraceful.

The mainstream media just don’t give the environment much airspace. There is no urgency to the problem. If it is mentioned, it’s just an afterthought. What will it take for change before it’s too late?

And global warming. That doesn’t sound right. It makes it seem all nice and fluffy – vineyards all over England and winter beach holidays on the palm fringed beaches of the North Sea. I think global warming needs to be renamed and rebranded. It ought to be Global Baking? Or how about Global Nightmare – with resulting famine, drought, mass human migration, disease etc.

When will the critical mass of human awareness be reached so that we collectively sort his mess out and make a difference? I fear for my childrens futures.

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Responses

  1. Martin…This is great (the writing, the ideas…not the situation)…I am really enjoying your articles. Keep em coming. Much love from Barca. Nicky xx


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