There are environmentalists who eschew pop culture for its crassness, its commercialism, its emphasis on celebrity over authenticity. I am not one of those environmentalists. Sure, our society’s addiction to overconsumption saddens me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited by Lady Gaga or the Oscars red carpet gowns.
Last night was the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony. In the past, Michael and I spread out a red carpet of our own for the annual Oscar bash. Of course, our red carpet was a long red plastic tablecloth. Treacherous in the rain. And equally as treacherous for the environment afterwards. We didn’t know any better.
This year, Rachel McAdams’s dress blew me away. It’s an Elie Saab made from organza and chiffon. Real silk or synthetic? I have no idea.
But these days, plastic and even the suggestion of plastic jumps out at me at every turn. I’m saddened when I see plastic revered by some of my favorite… Read the rest
Last night after work, I went to see the movie Avatar in 3D and, in an effort to save plastic, brought with me the 3D glasses I’d received at another movie. Yes, I thought ahead. I had the idea yesterday morning that I might want to go see that movie and dug through a drawer full of crap to find that pair of glasses. I didn’t want to use new plastic glasses if I had my own.
That should be the end of the story. But it gets kind of funny. … Read the rest
My boss took some of us to Disneyland this weekend. She’s a nice boss!
I know some of you are just appalled at the idea of Disneyland, while others find it as fun as I do. My question is: How can I reconcile the utter joy I feel at Disneyland with not only the environmental impact but also the homogenization of culture and the promotion of consumerism? It’s tacky for sure. But also utterly beautiful.
I can’t even imagine how much electricity must go into powering this fantastic spectacle.
I’m a kid when I go there, just as I wrote back in 2007 after running the Disneyland Half Marathon and then giving my inner child the time of her life.
Still, I can’t escape noticing waste and plastic. There seemed to be only one type of inexpensive restaurant in the park with durable plates and utensils. Those were the Mexican restaurants. And I was glad to find them.
All other affordable eating places served food, even hot foods like pasta,… Read the rest
Don’t get me wrong. There was still a ton of plastic waste to be recycled from the Outside Lands Music Festival that took place this weekend in Golden Gate Park.
But less than last year. Because instead of providing only bottled water, the festival organizers listened to the feedback from last year’s attendees (like me!) and provided water refill stations as well.
I was heartened to see the stations being used by many people who brought their own bottles. That said, the system was not all I could have wished for. True to a festival guard’s declaration to me last year that they had “no intention of providing free water to everyone,” Outside Lands brought in 5-gallon jugs of Arrowhead water and sold each 20-ounce refill for $1. Or if you bought an Outside Lands branded reusable bottle, refills were free throughout the festival.
Now certainly, these jugs produce much less waste than individual plastic bottles because… Read the rest
Apparently just one: me, insisting, “No thanks. No really. No, I don’t want it. Seriously, no!” to the guy at the theater door trying desperately to hand me a plastic goody bag full of Sing Along Grease paraphernalia. Here are my friends Red and Jen sporting theirs:
Included in the plastic goody bag:
1) Plastic pom poms2) Plastic sunglasses inside plastic baggie3) Plastic bubble soap4) Black plastic comb (for slicking hair back)5) Fake cigarette (have no idea what it’s made out of)
Without these implements, one cannot (the organizers would have us believe) participate fully in the Sing Along Grease Experience. Do you think that stopped me from belting my lungs out on “Hopelessly Devoted“?
No way, man! There are worse things I could do than say no to cheap plastic toys for a few hours. I could fume in my seat, self-righteously grumbling about plastic while everyone else had all the fun. But you know that’s… Read the rest
Isn’t singing a plastic-free activity?
Not when your teacher records your lessons on CDs. I’ve had two singing lessons so far and have been spending my free time doing funny exercises with my lips and various other parts of my personal sound system. Good thing I never get embarrassed anymore.
You might not think a singing lesson would involve much plastic, and if so, you would be living in the last decade. My teacher records each lesson onto a CD for her students to take home and use for practice. The recording is a great help. The disposable polycarbonate plastic CD, not so much. So I asked if there were some other way to save the lesson… on a Flash Drive perhaps? Turns out, she has another machine that records onto SD cards. I have an SD card in my camera. Perfect! Each week, I can download the recording from the card into my computer and reuse the same card each time. This method could potentially save many, many CDs, depending on how long… Read the rest
What’s it like inside the world’s greenest museum? That’s what I wanted to find out. Michael, David, and Nancy just wanted to explore and have a good time. So we all BARTed out to Golden Gate Park on Saturday to visit the new California Academy of Sciences museum.
Michael and I arrived first and checked out the cafeteria, conveniently located right inside the front doors. There was lots of organic food in evidence, as well as compostable foodware. There were also chips and cookies in plastic wrap and Mylar bags. Ah well. Nothing’s ever perfect, is it? Checking out the unattended waste station with its bins labeled Recycle, Compost, and Landfill, we spied all types of waste indiscriminately tossed into all three containers, as well as visitors reading the signs and incorrectly attempting to guess what they meant.
A staff member posted at the waste station to help educate guests might have been in order. Michael and Nancy … Read the rest
I’m being inundated with articles about “greening” your holidays. Smugly, I thought I had my holiday gift-giving plans all figured out. The season is fairly simple in our house since we don’t have children (although we may have kitties by Christmas!) and both of us are non-religious. That said, we do have families and friends with whom we exchange some gifts, nieces and nephews. And they are spread out across the country, so there’s a lot of transportation involved in sending gifts.
Perusing the multitude of green gift guides I’ve received so far (The Green Life Holiday Gift Guide from the Sierra Club is a great summary!), I kept coming across the idea of sending gift certificates for events rather than tangible presents that have to be wrapped and will eventually end up as waste, not to mention the fuel used for shipping them. Gift certificates sounded like a great idea to me. Specifically, movie tickets.… Read the rest
Thanks to Michael (er… I mean, the polar bears) for filling in for me yesterday. I’m wide awake and ready to write the final installment of my Disney adventure story. But actually, I’m having a hard time coming up with the words. All I really need to do is talk about plastic and environmental issues at Disneyland and during the Disneyland Half Marathon. But every time I start, I’m stopped by a kind of cognitive dissonance. Part of me is repulsed by the whole corporate engine of Disney and the vulgar consumerism it promotes.
But another part, the little kid that loves dolls and stuffed toys and pretty lights and music, is fascinated by the park itself and all the make-believe worlds within it. I and my inner child had such a good time with our friend David, and his inner child, rushing from ride to ride and laughing and screaming our heads off, that it’s hard to settle down and get serious about recycling bins and plastic containers… Read the rest