Off Green: Distractions on the Road to Saving the Environment

Fighting the climate change is probably the most important issue facing our generation. Many people of good will would like to do their part to address this problem, but don’t really know where to start from.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of disinformation out there, which leads people to take steps that might make them feel “green,” but don’t really help much, if at all.

Accordingly, this is the first of a series of articles giving examples of “green” initiatives that do little other than distract, along with ideas about what we should be doing instead.

This installment is all about drinking water. Future articles will delve into paperwork and electricity. Please send me feedback on these articles along with your ideas.

First part of series follows the jump.


Got Water?
Enjoy a drink and refill your bottle here!

Why support tap water?

  • Tap is regulated by the EPA, and held to stricter safety standards than bottled water.
  • Tap keeps plastic waste out of landfills and oceans.
  • Tap protects the privatization of a basic human right.
  • Tap avoids plastic bottle production, which relies heavily on petrochemicals and fossil fuels for raw materials, manufacture, and transport.
  • Tap only costs $0.002 per gallon.

Led by students, Hampshire college ended the sale of bottled water on campus in Fall 2012.

Bottled “Green” Water

The municipal waters in the areas where most of us live are perfectly healthy to drink, and yet many of us choose to drink bottled water. 20 billion barrels of oil go annually into making the water bottles that Americans throw out, creating 25 million tons of greenhouse gases.

Nestlé’s bottled water comes from Dallas, Texas, meaning that we are simply substituting Dallas water for Philadelphia water, and paying the supermarket and polluting the environment for the privilege. Other waters come from more exotic locations like Fiji. It is still the same H2O by another name, but it is being shipped around the world to quench our thirst.

Nestlé Waters, “The Healthy Hydration Company,” tries to “green-wash” their product:

To reduce the global environmental impact of PET bottles, Nestlé Waters created a new generation of packaging: the Eco-Shape PET bottle.

True, their new bottle is 25% lighter than its predecessor — largely due to a shorter bottle cap. Nevertheless, 25% lighter is still 75% too heavy compared to the truly environment-friendly alternative of a reusable water bottle, canteen or cup. In fact, the smaller cap makes the bottle more difficult to reuse, and is more prone to being swallowed by small children.

Oddly enough, most of our National Parks continue to sell bottled water, even though they have some of the most pristine water in the country on site. In fact, 30% of the Grand Canyon National Park’s recycling waste used to come from disposable bottles before it has gone bottled water-free.

The Story of Change

Can shopping save the world? The Story of Change urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.

Please watch The Story of Change and take the Personality Quiz following the movie to find out which kind of changemaker you are.

Be sure to share the film and your quiz results with everyone you know!

We made The Story of Change to inspire our viewers, Community members and others to step out of the consumer mindset and into our full power as citizens to build a better future.

That’s because too often, when faced with daunting environmental and social problems (say, disruption of the global climate) many of us instinctively flex our power in the only way we know how: as consumers.

  • Plastic garbage choking the oceans? Carry our own shopping bag.
  • Formaldehyde in baby shampoo? Buy the brand with the green seal.
  • Warming planet? Change our lightbulbs.

Without a doubt, those are all good things to do. But the fact is, better shopping isn’t going to change the world.

If we really want to build a better future, we have to move beyond voting with our dollars and come together to demand rules that work.

That’s the lesson we learned when we looked back at a series of effective movements for change, from the U.S. civil rights movement to the environmental victories of the 1970s. They didn’t just pester people to perfect their daily choices; they said we will work together until the problem is solved.

That’s not simple, and it won’t be easy. We’ll have to aim high and act boldly. But we’re convinced that history is on our side. So let’s get to work and make the kind of change we know is possible.

Again, thanks so much for your support! We couldn’t have made this movie without you.

Sincerely,

The Story of Stuff Project team: Annie, Michael, Allison, Christina, Renee, Naomi, Bill, and Toni

The Story of Broke: Still Plenty of Money to Build a Better Future

New 8-minute video from award-winning Internet filmmaker Anne Leonard – creator of The Story of Stuff and The Story of Citizens United v. FEC

The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions-renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more-that can deliver jobs and a healthier environment.

It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.

Annotated script follows the jump.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.  
Source: http://www.storyofstuff.org/wp…

Get Ready to Vote Today

Everyone is talking about the 2012 election, but where I live and in many places across America the next election is not in a year, but today.

So-called “off-year elections” determine who will be making decisions in your township, county or state. Turnout is usually low, and that makes your vote all the more important and decisive.

If you need any more motivation to get out and vote, please check out this video about our election process. It is from the makers of The Story of Stuff so you know its good. It speak to reclaiming the basic fairness in our democratic system.