Monday, November 26, 2007

Keep plastic outta my sushi

It seems a little self-promoting to post my own article here, but as its related to disposable issues, what they heck. A column I wrote for the Santa Monica Mirror, on Santa Monica's efforts to ban styrofoam and non-recyclable plastics.

For those that make the astute obervation that sushi-eating is hardly a green lifestyle practice, it's a metaphor. Though I admit sushi is one of my guilty pleasures....

My lovely photographer friend Rebecca was gracious enough to take this photo at the Grateful Bread on VERY short notice. If you find yourself with a mad cupcake craving after visiting her delicious website, trust me, you're not alone.

Monday, November 12, 2007


This week on American Public Media, CONSUMED, an excellent series about overconsumption, sustainability and how/if to reconcile the two....

Can we really expect to green-shop our way out of this mess?

Half-listening this morning while multi-tasking, I stopped in my tracks to focus, finding myself cheering silently at what I was hearing. We're burning up copious amounts of petroleum to fuel our voracious appetites for stuff - new stuff certainly don't need, flown in from all over the world.....

And the real costs for this transcends the price tag big time. Pollution, climate change, environmental about the human costs - the thousands of lives lost to date in the war, so that we may continue our gas guzzling ways?

According to commentator Robert Frank, we need economic structures in place that demand us to pay the real price for consumer goods:

"The simplest solution would be a carbon tax that would force consumers to confront the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. Such a tax would raise the price of fuel sharply -- stuff from distant places would become much more expensive, and most people would buy much less of it."

He seems well aware that this would hardly fly with our current admin:

"A carbon tax proposal would be dead-on-arrival in Washington. If so, our problem is not that we don't know how to make the economy sustainable. Rather, it's that we simply lack the political will."

Check out this and other stories on Consumed: is our consumer society sustainable?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Puente Hills Landfill: seen from Google Earth

A modern day measure of magnitude: can you see it on Google Earth?

Here it is, the Puente Hills Landfill, the largest in the nation.

Landfiills are a pretty fascinating metaphor for the way we deal with our waste. Out of sight, out of --

wait-- not so fast - the landfill is slated to shut down in 2013.

After which time, we'll be sending all of our crap out to Arizona, to the Mequite Regional Landfill, currently in the works. Any Arizoneans out there feeling a NIMBY twinge?

If this leaves you hungry for more landfill tidbits, good news: our local dump will be the subject of an upcoming Forecast Earth series, featuring Marcus Eriksen, shown here with a BYO bag. Looks like a suggestion we can't refuse.......