Friday, August 10, 2007

Plastic Bags...Everywhere....

So this is slowly becomig a "Your Environment Friday" here at the Curmudgeon. Two news items in particular caught my interest while doing my usual troll of the internet. The first was rather depressing (perhaps I should say sobering). The second, much more inspiring.

There is a really informative article over at Salon regarding Americans somewhat ubiquitous use of the plastic bag. A lot of this is information we've known - plastic bags are wasteful. But, there is always something about numbers to kind of smack you across the face. Americans throw out the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil a year in tossed plastic bags. According to Slate, a barrel is about 42 gallons. It's amazing to me that something that has become so superfluous in our shopping experience, can just accumulate to a breaking point. We really have to do something fast to stop producing these needless things. Here's some information on a The ERF's Campaign Against the Plastic Plague.

(link via Boing Boing)

The second item of interest was on Talk of The Nation's Science Friday show (podcast). The issue was using tidal energy to produce electricity. I had heard about this vaguely in science class in high school, but have never seen it demonstrated. As someone who is interested in alternative forms of energy, this is very interesting. Here is Ocean Power Technology, one of the people interviewed for the show. They use a tethered buoy that works on the same principal that states moving a magnet on a wire creates a electrical current. My apologies for not knowing the precise name of the law I am referring to. Listen to the show, they'll explain it.

And I'll leave you with a link to artist Chris Jordan's site, whose work "looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs." (quote and picture from artist's site)

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