Friday, July 22, 2005

Pouring Oil Down The Toilet

I went to Albertsons the other day to buy one bottle of shampoo. Not a very big one either. The checker rang up my purchase and put the bottle into a plastic bag. "I don't need a bag, it's only one item", I responded. She looked at me like I was wierd as I walked out with the shampoo and receipt in my hand.

For lunch two days ago, I grabbed a sandwich from Subway. After completing my sandwich, they wrapped it in two layers - yes two - of waxish plastic paper and then put it in a plastic bag. "I don't need a bag for one item", I responded and I got the same wierd stare.

Yesterday at Best Buy, I bought a new camera (I was genius enough to break mine) and they offered me one of their really thick, durable plastic bags. Yes, you guessed it, I refused the bag and you see where I am going with this. Had I accepted the bags, I would have three plastic bags that may or may not be used as trash bags and that would more likely end up in a landfill at some point. Repeat this scenario in your own daily life and you will see how we, as Americans, are addicted to pouring oil down the toilet -- the oil that goes into our cars and the oil that is used to make plastic -- just because we can. We are so wasteful we don't even think about our unnecessary waste.

In Mongolia, Russia and many other countries, customers are charged for the plastic bags they use, which encourages people to use linen sacks for their shopping sprees. That, in turn, reduces the production of plastic and the disposal of non-biodegradable waste. Here in America, Whole Foods Market has a great program to reduce the amount of bags whereby they give you a credit for every bag you reuse. Having used the same paper bags at least a dozen times already makes me appreciate how many trees would have died if I got new bags at each shopping trip. Why isn't everyone doing the same?

A recent letter from the wife of a soldier who served in Iraq offered a new perspective on the issue, different from the usual "it's good for the environment" rationale. To the extent that you believe that American soldiers are "defending our "freedoms", the following excerpt from Monica Benderman's letter will make you think:
Sure, soldiers have given their lives to defend their country. Sure, there is honor in their belief that what they did was right, and there is hope that good will come out of it. DOES THE GOOD COME?? Seriously, think about it. Where are the results of our soldiers' good efforts?? What are Americans doing to earn the freedoms and rights that our soldiers fought to defend?

***

My husband DID NOT DEFEND HIS COUNTRY for people to have the right to abuse the system.
Feel FREE to go to any landfill and survey the waste – the plastic, the vinyl, the containers and bags – OIL – wasted OIL – at almost $60.00 a barrel – laying there tossed away because Americans are FREE to throw away what they get tired of, and replace it with new plastic, vinyl – wrapped in bags and packed in containers that used still more OIL to be produced. But – "it is their right," and this is the way the honor and the sacrifice of all of the veterans who have ever served this country to defend our freedoms are supported.
Visit any homeless shelter in this country, and look into the eyes of the people there [who are probably veterans], grateful for the food they are given, and the simple bed they have to sleep in. Then, look in someone's trash and see exactly what they didn't eat for dinner, what they didn't store for another day's leftover meals – WASTE – but "it is their right." They are FREE because soldiers have died defending their right to abuse the system. I don't think so.

***

He did not serve his country so that business managers could receive paychecks for 40-hour work weeks while spending half of the time they should be working, on the golf course.
He did not serve his country to defend their right to work as they pleased while the real WORKERS, the people who made the company strong enough to make a profit, were paid minimum wage with no health benefits, and "fire at will" policies.

***

Support our soldiers and our veterans, but not by placing one more yellow ribbon on a vehicle. Don't you know – it takes oil to produce the materials to produce those yellow ribbons?
PLEASE – support them by living according to the standards of humanity that justify your having those RIGHTS. In my book – there is no other way to "support our troops."

The full text can be found at http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/benderman-m4.html.

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and
the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the
name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
Mahatma Gandhi

16 Comments:

At 11:49 AM, July 22, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

I think about this issue everyday. Americans live in a bubble of entitlement where we expect to have every single thing exactly when we want it--whether it be paper, plastic, cars, jewelry...whatever. The thing I've realized is that Americans are not going to change. Just as it took a massive and deadly war to end slavery, it will take some sort of dramatic events to change American behavoir--like an oil crisis. Past that, Bobby and Cindy will continue to waste and hoard.

 
At 12:00 PM, July 22, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

And Georgie and Dick will continue to wage war so that we can continue to waste and hoard. It can't last forever though and so few understand that. Americans have to be some of the least sensible people on the planet.

 
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