November 2010

Annie Leonard's "The Story of Electronics"

Annie Leonard is at it again, with a spin-off from her amazing "The Story of Stuff" movie called "The Story of Electronics."  This latest seven-minute semi-animated feature is specifically about electronics.  This is a topic which was certainly covered in "The Story of Stuff," but here it is fleshed out and the point brought home even more effectively: electronics are bad for the planet.

It's hard to imagine, as you look at a cell phone, television, or iPod, that it represents a vast swath of environmental devastation.  Sadly, the electronics industry has one of the worst environmental records. 

For example,  Silicon Valley which "thanks to the electronics industry is one of the most poisoned communities in the United States."  IBM's internal studies found that the workers who assembled their chips had 40% more miscarriages, not to mention skyrocketing rates of cancer.

Lead Found in Reusable Shopping Bags

Boy, if anything in this world were safe for us to repeatedly use, you would think it’d be reusable shopping bags. We’ve been converting to them, slowly but surely, and ditching the plastic that ends up serving as the surface area for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or the chokehold for a massive dying whale as we strive to live a little bit greener, a little bit more consciously, with this simple act. We all think that we’re doing a great thing by using reusable bags—indeed, it is a good thing—but it turns out that sometimes it’s just about as bad as plastic bags.

Paying for Pee in South Africa

The city of Durban, South Africa has done something extraordinary—one of those things that you wish wouldn’t be considered extraordinary at all, since you’d rather it be a mundane occurrence all over the globe, simply taken for granted in its sustainable simplicity, like you wish for recycling or bans on plastic bags. They’ve installed 90,000 dry toilets in the city, as they’ve deemed water too precious of a resource to waste.