Consider the Afterlife of Garbage

I saw this on 60 minutes last night. It's about how so much of our e-waste gets shipped to asia for poor peasants to "recycle". Even if you drop off your outdated electronics for recycling, they still may end up in places like this. I knew this was happening, but I'd only seen pictures. This area of China really has become a wasteland, and it's very sad to see. The video is about 13 minutes.

Watch CBS Videos Online

And while I'm on the comes my periodic greenie post. I want to make everyone aware of the giant island of garbage that is out floating out in the Pacific Ocean. Quite literally, there's a place in the Pacific where currents have collected floating trash to create a massive patch of garbage roughly twice the size of Texas. Read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Wikipedia. Here's something from NPR or just google "garbage island" for more info. has some good videos about it.

one more thing, and this is probably not as interesting. But it involves two of my favorite smart people, so I thought I'd mention it. I became a fan of Michael Pollan's after reading Omnivore's Dilemma two years ago. It changed the way I thought about food and the food industry. Barack Obama cited in a recent interview an article Michael Pollan had written about US agriculture policies.

"I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.
For us to say we are just going to completely revamp how we use energy in a way that deals with climate change, deals with national security and drives our economy, that's going to be my number one priority when I get into office, assuming, obviously, that we have done enough to just stabilize the immediate economic situation."


Katie said...

I'm taking a class right now called "Nature in the City" and we're discussing all of this kind of stuff...really interesting, and disturbing.

But anyway, my dad gave me a magazine with an article about the China "recycling" program...and I guess they're selling the stuff back to the US military. Kind of scary.

Jim said...

The good news: Obama reads and quotes Michael Pollan.

The bad news: Time Magazine doesn't know that his name is not spelled Michael "Pollen."