The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 27, 2012

Get a Bag and a Receipt: When Social and Environmental Justice Collide

What does the Trayvon Martin murder have to do with sea turtles choking on plastic bags or the toxicity of bisphenol-A?  At first glance, not a whole lot.  And it’s not the kind of  news I would normally write about on My Plastic-Free Life.  But listening to the April 17 episode of the American Public Media radio program The Story last week, I suddenly made a surprising connection.

The host of the show, Dick Gordon, interviewed one of his regular contributors, African American high school teacher, Reuben Jackson, who shared the difficult feelings that came up for him after hearing about the murder.  For anyone who doesn’t listen to the news and hasn’t been following this case, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed African American teenager who was shot and killed by an overly-zealous community watch coordinator, George Zimmerman, while returning from a convenience store because he looked suspicious in his hoodie.  And because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the shooter was not arrested until public allegations of racism pressured the state to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder over a month after the shooting took place.  That’s a huge oversimplification of the situation.  You can read the details here.

On the radio show, teacher Reuben Jackson explained why the news of this murder hit him so hard personally, relating the story of the talk his parents gave him when he was just a boy.

My parents gave me what’s now known as “the talk” when I was very young in elementary school.  My father, a man I describe as a walking haiku because he’d give you three words every six months… became uncharacteristically verbose.  I was going to a mom and pop store to get a candybar, and he said, “Get a bag and a receipt.”  And I said, “Why?  I’m just gonna eat the Snicker bar” or whatever it was.  And he just repeated the same thing four or five times, “Get a bag and a receipt.  Get a bag and a receipt.”  My mother was the translator.  And she later told me, “Your father doesn’t want you to be suspected of stealing.”  And I said, well I wasn’t gonna steal, but it was the beginning of that armor that one needs to make one’s way through this society.

Listening to the story, I imagined myself in that situation, a middle-aged white woman, and it suddenly dawned on me:  I never take a bag because I bring my own to avoid plastic, and I rarely take a receipt anymore because many of them are coated with BPA.   And of course, I spend the better part of my life nowadays trying to convince other people not to take that plastic bag and to avoid thermal receipts when not needed.  It has never occurred to me that someone might think I was stealing.    And if they did think it, I would probably just flash them my big toothy smile, give them my card, and explain that I don’t use plastic and that I didn’t steal whatever it was from their store.

It’s a privilege to be able to assume that strangers will give us the benefit of the doubt.  It’s a privilege that I didn’t even know I had until I heard this story last week.  And it made me start to wonder not only what other privileges I have, but in what other ways personal survival conflicts with environmental protection as a result of social disparities in our world.  And this gets back to the topic of my interview on the Melissa Harris-Perry show last Sunday.

How can we create a world without plastic pollution when poor people are forced to take jobs in petrochemical plants and other polluting industries to support their families?  I had the benefit of a middle class education and employers who gave me the benefit of the doubt even when my experience and qualifications didn’t quite meet their requirements, most likely because I looked and sounded like someone they could trust.  I’ve never had to work in dangerous conditions producing a toxic product in order to survive.  Sure, I’ve been poor, but it was poverty by choice.  I’ve always known I could “sell out” and get a job making a bunch of money if I wanted to.  Being able to choose poverty over wealth and to spend all my discretionary income and time on environmental action is a massive privilege.

How can we do away with disposable plastic bottles when 884 million people in the world lack access to clean drinking water?  I have the privilege of drinking straight from my tap or installing a water filter to remove chlorine and few other chemicals I might not care to ingest.  But around the world, and even in some places in the United States, drinking the local water is hazardous, and bottled water is the only alternative.  Contrary to what the CEO of Nestle believes, clean water should be a basic human right and not a privilege for those with means.

Would we have fewer disposable plastic diapers, plastic-wrapped convenience baby foods, and formula bottles if women were paid as much as men and if employers created parent-friendly work places?  Would women have more time for parenting in harmony with nature if they didn’t have to work longer hours to make a living and if men shared in the parenting tasks equally?

Isn’t fairness and justice for the world’s people also fairness and justice for the planet?  We are all connected.  And our issues and causes, whether social or environmental, are all connected.  For whatever reason, the issue that speaks to me the most loudly is plastic.  But that doesn’t mean I get a pass when it comes to other causes and issues.  Because ultimately, the recognition that we are all connected — people, animals, plants, planet, universe — means that whatever we do in support of a fair and just society will support a healthier planet.  At least that is my hunch.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I’d love to hear what you think.

In what other ways do social injustices undermine environmental goals?  And more importantly, what can we do about them?

 

 

68 comments
DeniseL
DeniseL

Thanks Beth.  It's enormously important to recognize our social privileges, and as activists, we need to recognize that it is easier for some of us to be activists than others.

 

JohnKawakami makes a good point.  I live in Toronto, and the mapping of the city's most toxic emissions is more or less IDENTICAL to the mapping of the city's poverty.

 

 

Wilted Camellia
Wilted Camellia

I was just thinking something similar to this post - that it would be hard to forgo reciepts. I always skip the bag at stores, but then I am always asked to show a reciept on my way out (it is not a case of racial prejudices in my case, though (I am what one would call a"lily-white" causcasion) - perhaps ageism is it? I am a teen). Anyway, I would like to forgo the reciept, but I do not want to drag the suspicious door greeter at Wal-mart up to the cashier and be all, "You remember me, right? I bought this stuff, like, 30 seconds ago?" every time. Maybe I have shifty eyes?

johnkawakami
johnkawakami

Well... look at where poor people live.  That's where they site the most polluting industries.  The people work all day, maybe two jobs, and don't have the political power or often the physical energy to resist these toxic developments.  People with means can often resist - the community is usually educated, old people are retired and have time, and people have 40 hour per week jobs, and usually there are a couple people around who've "made it" and have time and money to spend.  So their communities don't get industries that pollute, and aren't cut up by freeways.  But, since they don't really expand their NIMBY fight to anywhere outside of their area, the businesses site themselves in poor communities that don't or can't fight back.

Megan
Megan

This is a really interesting post Beth. I have often thought about similar topics especially after going to a seminar by Will Allen from Growing Power, Inc. a couple years ago (have you heard of him? It was a great seminar). I realize that often people do not really have a choice in their plastic consumption but my thought is a large amount of people that consume a significant amount of plastic probably have the means to do otherwise but, unfortunately, and for their own individual reasons, don't. I certainly do not have a plethora of wealth but I have changed the things that I can and have slowly been changing the things that require some money. The most important thing I have changed is my awareness of plastic usage which was free and the rest will come with time. My feelings are that there are going to be people that don't really have a choice with their plastic consumption but if the people who do have the ability reduce their plastic consumption actually do so then there would be a shift in marketing and plastic production away from this 'throw-away plastic' frame of mind to limited plastic usage for necessary things, such as bottled water as a clean water source.

Melissa
Melissa

I completely agree with you. It's so important to make the links between social and environmental justice. Thanks for writing this. This reality is one reason it's so important to go beyond individual actions and "lifestyle" choices to work on regulation, legislation, and social and political collective action -- on plastic, the environment generally, and social justice generally. It all fits together. (Not that I'm doing all that myself!)

LauraY
LauraY

"...clean water should be a basic human right and not a privilege for those with means..."

Add clean air to that statement, as well.

 

This very statement is why I despise those politicans who wish to abolish the EPA entirely.  How crazy is that?   Rich, poor, skinny, fat, black, white, etc, we ALL have the basic right to clean water and air.   The EPA ensures (I hope) we have those things.  Any politician who advocates getting rid of the EPA basically has a suicide wish,  in my book.

 

I heard that segment on NPR as well and I found it very poignant.  Imagine having to tell your kid to make sure you get a receipt because otherwise people might assume you would steal the item based on your race.   So sad.  However, where I work, I frequently see a lot of people, mostly white young men, tell me, oh, I don't want the receipt and refuse to take the receipt, or they crumple it up and throw it away before they even leave the store.   That's pretty stupid, to me.  At least wait until you exit the store to toss the receipt.   Additionally, NEVER try to return something without a receipt.   I had a family member back in the early 90s who tried to return an article of clothing (brand new, with tags) without a receipt at JCPenney, in a bag, and the store detective immediatelly accused her of shoplifting and had her arrested.    So take it from me, ALWAYS hang on to your receipt, and don't try to return something without one. 

 

 

 

debrabaida
debrabaida

I have to concur with many folks who commented before me: this post blows me away, Beth. I love that you have deepened the conversation to address the socio-economic social justice issues about plastics in general. And to talk about privilege! Wow. This is just the beginning of a long dialogue that I look forward to reading and participating in.

Kandi
Kandi

This post brings up some good questions and lots of food for thought. You ask "Would women have more time for parenting in harmony with nature if they didn’t have to work longer hours to make a living and if men shared in the parenting tasks equally?" I would rather ask Would women have more time for parenting in harmony with nature if we didn't live in a society where in most cases it takes two incomes to provide for a family?

 

I am blessed that my husband has a great job with the US Navy and I am not required to work at this time. Our ultimate goal is for me to be a stay at home mother. I feel like my duty as a wife is to care for our home, our bodies and our children (when we have them). I hate the resistance I get from a lot of people when I mention this is our plan. My husband's family has even referred to me as a Gold Digger because of these goals. I love my husband more than anything in the world and I am very grateful for his secure income. I will admit that is one of my reasonings for marrying him, but not because of the money but more for the security and his good work ethics. I knew he would take care of me and our family. Anyways, I hate being referred to as lazy, gold-digger and other harsh judgements. I hate be looked down upon for choosing to care for my family and to be paid in love and knowledge that we are living a healthy life and trying to be closer to nature.

 

I am sorry for this being a little ranty, but I feel like this is a social issue that is being overlooked. I feel like why our youth is struggling so much is because both parents are absent way too much. I was lucky to have a blessing in disguise growing up. My father had a lot of medical issues and could not work. He was home everyday when I came home from school and came to every single one of my concerts, performances, and track meets. I can't begin to express what that meant to me and I want to provide that for our children!

Revd Peter Doodes
Revd Peter Doodes

Dear God, to avoid being murdered a teenager needs to take a store bag and a receipt? What kind of world are we living in?

almostallthetruth
almostallthetruth

Can I say that I both love and hate this post? I love that you are bringing such awareness to a fundamentally important topic relating to environmentalism and social justice. It gives one pause. It allows for conversation and a hopeful opening of the mind to a situation that may be unfamiliar to many of us reading.

 

 

But I also hate this because it begs the question how can we have a balance between human rights, and the environmental rights we humans also rely on, when our humanity is challenged by horrific living conditions of a significant portion of the world? Whether you live in a developed or developing nation there are systems in place to prevent change.

 

How can we fight a bottled water facility in our state when there are places with no access to clean water. How can we fight certain agricultural innovations when the world is going hungry? Do I think either of those things would be a solution to the representative problems? No... but the lines start to blur sometimes, we realize there may be gray areas, but we can also always fight for better than the unfortunate solutions which have been presented so far.

 

 

So... We keep working to eliminate as much plastic as we can in our own lives. We keep working to educate those who are ready for change. Then we tackle societal and policy changes as necessary. And we keep in mind those who are not privileged to join us yet.

chicknlil
chicknlil

Great post Beth-- I went to a high school were there was a low grade race riot every spring.  I say low grade because there was never any guns, looting, or arson.   (There were about 150 people in my high school.)  But, people occassionally did get the hell beat out of them and there was a tension that hung in the air.  It was always rednecks and black kids.  The two groups of outsiders in our school.  Both groups tend to be working class and intent on staying true/real/legit or whatever and behaving in a way that demonstrates it.  The older I get, it seems to me that neither group wanted to be the bottom on the social hierarchy and that's what they were struggling over.  It was as much an extension of socio-econmic circumstances as it was race.

 

We judge people on their appearance everyday.  Whether the person is goth, preppy, or a redneck or a person of color.  I've been hooted at and ye-hawed at walking down city streets and it made my blood boil (I've over it now).  I've had folks assume that I'm backwards and uneducated or a racist- I'm not.  My husband is a heating and air conditioning man.  He wears work boots, jeans, a company t-shirt, and a company hat.  He says that often when he works in an office, the women give him sideways looks and it makes him uncomfortable.  I don't know if it's because he's a little dirty from work or what, but people judge.  The irony is, he has an associate's degree and makes double what I do with a bachelors.  I guess the point to all of this is that we need to accept people as they are and not make judgements about them.  Let them reveal to use who they really are.  The way to build understanding is communication and that inturn leads to citizens who are engaged.  Folks who are engaged want to make their surroundings pleasant and environmental stewardship creates a pleasant world to live in.  I just think that it is so sad that a young man at the beginging of his life was killed.  I think that we all have a responsibility to look deep inside ourselves and honestly evaluate how we see the world and try to make ourselves less judgemental in all aspects.  I think that we should never stop trying to learn and grow and improve ourselves in order to be the most well rounded and wise person we can be.

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

This one really hit home with me.  I just returned from a trip to Kenya and witnessed first-hand the way people live without electricity, running water, indoor toilets.  The plastic litter & trash I saw everywhere was a sad reminder that the western concept of disposable everything only works where you have trash pick-up, but leaves millions of people with no "away" to throw things, but their own backyard.  But with incomes of less than US equivalents of $300 a month, the cheapest, most easily obtainable goods are, unfortunately, plastic.

 

Water & food, according to our Kenyan friend, the #1 challenge daily for his people.  We simply turn on a tap; the daily effort to walk up to 5 miles to fill a 5-gallon jug with a day's water for a family from a local well can take hours of a woman's time, in addition to everything else she does by hand. Seeing small children scooping water out of a muddy creek to drink far outweighed my plastic-driven conscience in passing out all the extra bottled water we had daily.

 

I knew this trip would challenge my "values" in more ways than one.  I was happy to have water in plastic bottles and happy to give it all away.  Happy to buy individually wrapped candies to pass out to the smiling children whose only English word appeared to be "Sweets".  Happy to gather up all the hotel trial size toiletries and pass them on to our guide's wife & 6 children. Happy I had purchased nylon ponchos and mosquito netting to take with me and so I could leave them behind with the tall Maasai who pulled us into his dance so graciously. 

 

And now that I'm home?  I guess I've learned to bring a sense of awareness to the simple actions that we're fortunate enough to do without thought on a daily basis.  I really do turn off the water if there's nothing under the tap, even for a few seconds.  I'm more conscious of not wasting food.  And I've stopped whining about walking 500 yards up the hill to the community garden.  I hope I'm less self-righteous about whatever values I choose to champion and how I express those to others. 

 

Will my actions here make a difference 8500 miles away?  I don't know, but I do believe in the butterfly effect. 

UpcycledLove
UpcycledLove

Honestly, a huge barrier to all movements is the ability to get along with each other. So many non-profits are so ineffective because of bad communication and organization. Can we be open and honest with each other? How can we move forward collectively if we can't even trust each other? I love that Majora Carter and Van Jones focus on the intersection between social injustice and environmental pollution. We are all interconnected, and all of our surface problems stem from a core issue. David Korten writes that it is a "love of money over love of life" that has caused essentially ALL of our problems.

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

Fabulous post. I have spent the vast majority of my adult life living on the bottom end of the income scale... but, like you, this is a choice that I made. Still, there are times when I just don't have the extra money to buy organic or make other "green" choices.  And even though I have experienced "poverty" I have no way of understanding the institutionalized oppression that so many people face. I once had a black co-worker who wanted to grow dread-locks, but was afraid that it would make him a target of police profiling. Worrying about whether my hairstyle will provoke a police response is just not something that is in the realm of my experience.

 

But the part that always sticks in my craw is why is it that the healthier and "greener" choices should be more expensive and more difficult? How is it, that something like a plastic bag, which really takes an enormous amount of resources to produce, can be the "disposable"  and "cheap" option? How did we get to a place where fertilizers and pesticides made from petro-chemicals that took millions of years to create are somehow cheaper than fertilizers made from cow shit and pest protection from rotating crops and other non-chemical means? I mean, if you just look at it from a Martian's perspective, it's sort of ludicrous, and I can't help but believe that money and power loom large in the equation.

 

It all just makes me think that while altering our personal behaviors is great, and certainly raises awareness, it doesn't really address the institutionalized problems that we face.  I just have a hard time seeing how a world of environmental justice can be achieved without also addressing the incredible disparity of income and opportunity that exists in this country, not to mention the world at large.

Mortira
Mortira

Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly. For a long time, I've felt that children and the environment should always come first. Whatever decisions we make, if we keep those two priorities in mind, everything else will fall into place; because what's good for children, and good for the planet, is good for everyone, and will carry on into the future.

Anita Gwynn
Anita Gwynn

The POWERFUL words of David Banner on Trayvon Martin. www.youtube.com

Lynn Johnson
Lynn Johnson

i really appreciate your post, i don't think it's crazy at all. what i appreciate most about it is...your acknowledgement that there are alot of reasons why people don't give up plastic, especially how privilege and lack of privilege affect that decision (whether conscious or unconscious). my sense is that positive change is not just a job of education, it's a job of understanding the systems of power and inequity at play that create toxic sh*t which i guess is also education...and inspiration maybe. keep it up!

Anita Gwynn
Anita Gwynn

I've asked around....will post when I find out! It started off being about Trayvon and about black vs white and then he ended up saying...actually this is about rich vs poor. It's getting like that here too. #depressing! am drinking wine to forget!

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

Anita Gwynn, I know exactly who you're talking about! Just kidding. But I would love for you to find out and let me know.

Anita Gwynn
Anita Gwynn

saw a really interesting video with some american singer today, which would totally back you up. Can't remember his name tho, and I am English, so never heard of him before. Will do some research. But really interesting.......

Dale Beeman
Dale Beeman

what ever, People are spoon feed shit and told what to think, by the time it's flushed out the other end then it comes out as a blessing

Zenith Lillie-Eakett
Zenith Lillie-Eakett

This is, quite possibly, my most favorite post you've done. Just 7 hours away from me (in the same province), there are people who don't have clean drinking water or safe living conditions. In my own country.

Linda Cooper
Linda Cooper

I just shared this with the comment "Most thoughtful thing I've read in a while." Thank you.

abzarndt
abzarndt

Beth -- A very powerful post that shows serious reflection and contemplation on your part.  You touch on points I have thought about myself as a middle class, middle aged, white woman: the use of my own  bags without being suspected of stealing (though I do usually take receipts just for that reason), being able to buy a nice filter for our sink, being able to choose a higher grade of food, buy a nice stainless steel water bottle, choose to buy a house not next to a toxic dump, etc., etc., etc.  I agree with what someone else spoke about that the raising of awareness is a huge part of all this and it is an extremely important part.  But I also see that those of us that are able and willing to take on this battle in our individual lives are paving the way for things to change and become easier for everyone to be doing them.  I was just thinking the other day about how there are many out there who haven't spent any time in their lives thinking about these issues and may never.  Yet I hope that having enough of us take action will create enough change that even those folks will eventually be living greener and healthier lives without even realizing it!  But we also need to make those important connections and speak out on issues where those less fortunate are not able to make those choices for themselves.  We are all connected, that is what this is all about.  Thank you for speaking on this topic. 

HealthfulMama
HealthfulMama

Sharing, sharing, sharing this one! Wonderful piece with a truly intense message.

CyndiNorwitz
CyndiNorwitz

Thank you Beth for this important post.  I appreciate that you look at context and culture instead of passing judgment on people who make different decisions from you.  I saw this in your post about disability (which can generate so much more plastic, use more gas for transport, use more electricity, and so on) and I see it here.  The real problem we have is that we're presented these issues as personal choice (bring your own bag or use plastic).  It's the corporate culture and what is allowed as the default that should change.  In the meantime, us individuals make the best choices we can.

deltaflute
deltaflute

I think you hit the nail on the head.  This is essentially why for me being a Catholic and protecting the environment goes hand in hand.  There have been numerous articles suggesting that Christians shouldn't be eco-friendly because it destroys humanity in order to do so (like the affordability of electric cars).  It's completely laughable.

 

As a Christian, I think it's incumbent upon us to protect the environment not just to be stewards of wildlife but to protect our brothers and sisters in areas of the world that are being heavily polluted. 

 

So while you may come at it from seeing a baby chick albatross, I come it from images of Chinese children sifting through heavy metals.  Make sense?

Brekke
Brekke

Thanks so much for bringing this up Beth. I think it's something that doesn't get talked about enough when it comes to the environmental movement. In my line of work (a cooperatively owned grocery store that focuses on local and sustainable food) I often see how economic realities affect a family's ability to contribute to a thriving sustainable food community in Chicago. We can't make the progress we need to without addressing these issues.

 

Thanks again.

Will Terry
Will Terry

Love your blog and don't really want to get in the way of the overall message but one thing that bothered me was in the way you described George Zimmerman as: "an overly-zealous community watch coordinator." How do you know he was " overly-zealous" ? I don't know that he wasn't but I don't think it's fair to describe him this way when all the facts aren't out. We do know that he had injuries. We don't know if he felt that his life was in danger as he and Trayvon struggled on the ground (according to an eye witness). I just don't like to see the bias in the media reported over and over against George Zimmerman - who may turn out to be totally guilty. Lets let the courts decide this one.

debrabaida
debrabaida

Megan, you are SOOOO spot on with a number of profound points, the most brilliant of which is this: "The most important thing I have changed is my awareness of plastic usage which was free and the rest will come with time." These words make my heart sing. Any change comes by meeting ourselves where we are at and by working within our means - be they financial, emotional, or otherwise. Bravo to you!

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

Hi LauraY.  I accept receipts for things I think I might possibly return.  I never take restaurant or other food receipts unless I need them for business write offs.  Why do I need a receipt for something I have consumed already, you know?

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

 @Kandi Excellent point! I often feel like the whole "women's liberation" movement has totally backfired. I mean, I believe that we, as women should have the freedom to work any job that we want to, but it sort of seems like what's happened is that since there are twice as many people in the workforce, salaries are that much smaller - I don't think it's really an improvement.

 

And I know that there are MANY different ways to raise children, but as a child raised by a single working mother, I definitely know that I often felt cheated. My mother was never around, and when she was, she was exhausted and had no energy for us. I applaud you for your choices and I don't think there's anything "lazy" about it!

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

 @Kandi I agree Kandi.  I think part of combating sexism is valuing women's choices, whether to have children or not, stay at home to raise the children or not, work outside the home or not, get married or not, love men or women or themselves.  How can we live in harmony with the planet when our choices and our work are seen as less important than men's?  And I really hate when I hear women putting down other women's choices because I feel like that's a sort of internalized sexism, you know?

UpcycledLove
UpcycledLove

Woops, I didn't quite finish my comment there. David Korten wrote that in "The Great Turning", which is about embracing Earth Community over a culture of conquest and domination.

 

After seeing the documentary, "Within Reach", which is about a couple who bike-camped across the country to visit 100 intentional sustainable communities, the message essentially was that caring for people is almost more important than caring for the environment and sustainability. This is because you can't have sustainability without people working together. And when the work of creating a sustainable future goes against the currents of the world, you need a really cohesive network and really strong, trustworthy relationships.I think on an individual level, it comes to a sense of power. If you believe you have the power to have a positive influence, whether big or small, you are more likely to do good things and pursue progressive change. If you believe you are unworthy, miserable, and have no power to have any sort of positive influence (unless you have a 6-pack, a fancy car, and a huge house), then you are probably not going to do very much in the way of progressive change. And that power is basically squashed through popular culture and media.

 

In other countries less "privileged" (what a charged word!), the lack of access to clean food, water, air, and secure jobs really takes away anyone's ability to do anything about the environment. In more state-controlled countries like China? No one has the power to do anything, really. Except watch and listen to the State-controlled News and Media.

 

So I do think that if we were able to address and restore social injustices like racism, sexism, and worker rights, we would see more interest and progress in environmental issues.

 

But anyway, it's a whole confusing mess of a swamp bog. But there's still beauty to be appreciated - for example, in the resilience of the human spirit to transcend struggle and challenges for the hope of a better future.

 

Thank you for writing about this issue!

mvlovesthebeat
mvlovesthebeat

 @Will Terry Also, he may be considered over-zealous by the fact that the called 911 46 times to report various things that he saw going on in the neighborhood, including, but not limited to, children playing in the street and stray dogs.

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

 @Will Terry Will, one reason I consider him overly-zealous is because he followed Trayvon even when the police dispatcher told him not to.

johnkawakami
johnkawakami

 @EcoCatLady The women's lib movement was about more than work, but it ended up being about work, and mainly about white middle class women's work issues - specifically access to white collar jobs.  The number of white women working went up, but for women of color and white working class women, the numbers didn't change much, because they were already working.  The issues facing women in blue-collar, manual labor jobs, still exist today and haven't been adequately addressed.  You look in the construction trades, which are the best paid manual labor jobs, and there were and are few women, and the women who are there tend to be very thick-skinned about sexism, out of necessity.  The split in pay between people who do "womens' work" and "mens' work" hasn't been fully addressed either.The real answer, which was pushed people both men and women considered wacky feminists, was to reduce the number of hours worked, and to pay women (and eventually men) for raising children.  "Wages for Housework" was the call, and if we valued housework the way we value, say, used-car salespersons, we'd have more compensation for housework.

Kandi
Kandi

 @EcoCatLady and @BethTerry  Thank you for understanding my rant. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way. I also feel like you two express some things I didn't express as well or at all. 

 

Also, EcoCatLady, my parents were divorce and I spent the summers with my mom. She worked full time, so I have seen both sides of the street. Which is one reason why I feel so strongly that I want to be there for my children as a stay at home mom. Especially if my husband has the chance of being deployed and gone for months at a time. 

Will Terry
Will Terry

 @BethTerry Two years ago I was at my in-laws and witnessed a crime - I followed one of the suspects leaving the scene while on my cell phone with a 911 dispatcher. I was talking the police into the location where the injured man was walking. I stayed on the phone the entire time with the dispatcher describing the suspects clothing, skin color, behavior, and direction of travel. The dispatcher never asked me to discontinue my pursuit. Were my behaviors "overly- zealous"? I did the exact same thing that George Zimmerman did.

johnkawakami
johnkawakami

 @BethTerry It pops up if you use tax software.  The one I use asks a question about buying a car - that's just the typical situation that triggers the deduction.  Your total sales taxes have to exceed your deduction for state income taxes paid - my state income taxes are kind of high so it usually exceeds sales taxes.  I believe that if your state doesn't collect income tax, you can deduct sales taxes.  You should look it up.

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

 @johnkawakami You can?  Where do you do it?  If it's a Schedule A deduction, I don't qualify because we don't own a home or make enough money to itemize.  But I do keep receipts for business expenses related to blogging and now book writing.

Latest blog post: Book Sale Transaction Complete

Will Terry
Will Terry

 @johnkawakami I'm not going to respond to your question because I've talked to Beth over the phone about this issue in depth and we've both decided that the mechanics of the Trayvon Martin death is irrelevant to this blog (the aspects of parents counseling ethnic children to get a bag and a receipt however is quite relevant in my opinion). In short we both agreed that blogs are more powerful when they stay on topic. If you want to have a private conversation about this case with me I'm all ears but lets do it off blog so our personal differences and opinions don't derail the wonderful job Beth has been doing on educating people about their personal usage of plastic.

johnkawakami
johnkawakami

 @Will Terry That's a totally different situation.  You saw a crime and pursued.  Zimmerman didn't see a crime and pursued.

sa ada
sa ada

 @Will Terry sorry, beth and will, i was a bit slow with the surname connection.  i've got two brothers so i completely understand.

 

what i got from this post, will, is that you should want your conservative friends to love the earth, yes, but also all of the people on it.

 

will, do you have a blog for conservative environmentalists?

Will Terry
Will Terry

 @BethTerry I am blessed to live in the Rocky Mountains. My backyard IS the mountain - like- I walk out the back yard into bear country. I hike everyday either in the foothills or up the canyon. I feel like a minority amongst many of my conservative friends because I really care about the environment and I get the sense that many of them don't. I'm saddened when I see waste and pollution. I've limited my plastic usage since Beth has brought it too my attention. I'm very proud of her for doing what she does. I know it's not been easy for her.

 

Many conservatives think that environmentalists are wack jobs largely due to certain talk show personalities. Many conservatives are ignorant of environmental problems because they run in circles where it's politically correct to live like there's no tomorrow.

 

Whether or not Zimmerman was overly zealous I guess is a matter of opinion and that is what my original problem was with this post. I'll give you a little perspective from a conservative.

 

You want to reach a broad audience right? You probably want to persuade conservatives to care more about the planet. You have to realize that in the end your message will be worthless without a majority of individuals anxiously engaged in conservation. You will be unsuccessful in the long run of getting the majority of people on board if you editorialize on things that are political hot spots - that don't pertain to your overall message - reducing plastic usage. Please don't confuse what I'm saying in that I think you started out with an amazing message about an ethnic issue of a bag and a receipt - something I would have never thought of growing up.

 

I realize now that I should have brought up this issue offline in the first place but what's done is done. Please know that I'm on Beth's side. I'm on the earth's side. I care. I just don't want to see Beth's message passed by because conservatives think they've stumbled on a liberal blog. I want my conservative friends to change!

sa ada
sa ada

 @Will Terry wow, will, way to act like a little boy.  calling a grown woman a big girl?  here's some criticism for you.  grow up. 

 

and now i'm going to call you a troll.  you claim to understand and support beth's message but you come on her blog and criticize one word on one post but won't answer any questions that are actually relevant to the post.

 

 

Will Terry
Will Terry

Beth always has great posts - including this one - she's a big girl and a little criticism might help her get even better. Let me re-state: This is a great post! But, for me she clouded her message in a small way by labeling George Zimmerman's actions. This is a blog about the environment not about "overly zealous" gun wielding nut jobs.

sa ada
sa ada

 @Will Terry  hi, will.  this is what's wonderful about the internet.  you come here for environmentalism, not politics, and you don't have to agree with other's politics in order to agree with their environmentalism.  i also understand about conflicting identities as i am variously libertarian, religious conservative, progressive, communist, depending on what the issue is.  we all have different facets but it's more convenient to label and box people and ideas.

 

anyway,  my question to you is, do you think it would have been a good thing to have never heard of trayvon?  did you read the word 'overly-zealous' and then turn off you brain?  do you have any response to the fact that entire populations of our country do not feel FREE to refuse a plastic bag and a toxic receipt?  how did you feel when you found out that when reuben jackson's father gave him 'the talk' it was not an awkward affair referencing small winged creatures but how to avoid the appearance of confirming other's predjudice?

 

i don't think this is getting in the way of the overall message.  it's demonstrating the message.  most environmentalists are white.  why? you said you are in the minority here but, no, you are outnumbered but certainly not in the minority.  and there is a huge difference.  you don't think you have to adjust your actions to conform with majority expectations. that is a privilege or advantage, the absence of a disadvantage. 

 

in the scheme of things, will, your objection to beth's wording is crass and indicates your avoidance of talking about race privilege.  honestly!  what is being called overly-zealous compared to being shot dead?

 

 

 

 

Will Terry
Will Terry

 @BethTerry Most people aren't loud mouths like me - I'm also probably in the minority here on your website - a conservative (shit really?) who actually cares about the environment. The bias in the media on this case was a disgrace - even got an NBC producer fired and other early reports got it wrong saying that George was a white guy. If it were properly reported from the beginning (hispanic guy shoots black guy) you probably wouldn't have ever heard of Trayvon and subsequently wouldn't have made this blog post.

Will Terry
Will Terry

 @BethTerry We can absolutely take if off line - perhaps you shouldn't editorialize with your off -topic opinions if you don't want people to respond to them.

Will Terry
Will Terry

The dispatcher is not the law - so even is she had asked me to peal off I would have still followed the suspect just like George Zimmerman - because I care about my family and our community - sometimes you have to risk to protect that which you love - if this makes me "overly-zealous" I'll gladly wear this label.

Lauren
Lauren

 @Will Terry "The dispatcher never asked me to discontinue my pursuit." So you did not do "the exact same thing George Zimmerman did."

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

 @Will Terry Hey Will, can we take this offline? Because, as you already stated, it's not the point of the post. and I really don't want to get into that kind of debate here.  But I'd love to hear your thoughts about the connection between environmental and social justice.