Archive for March, 2008

Letter To An Apathetic Manufacturer – Active Conscious Consumerism

Posted in ethical consumerism, sustainability on March 31, 2008 by theseep

Over the last few years, we have made big changes – solar, biodiesel production, WVO conversion on our Vegfalia, LED and CFL lighting, changing what we eat and from whom we buy it, and trying to curb our gluttonous consumerism. It is difficult, however, for a bargain-hunting gadget geek to overcome some of these long-ingrained urges.
Yesterday, I received an sale email from Scott E-Vest, a manufacturer and retailer of “technology-enabled” clothing which I have been eyeing for some time. Basically, their jackets and other clothing have multiple, well-designed pockets, a weight-management system, and conduits to run your headphones and cables – truly worthy of even the most discriminating techie dorks (they even have a solar panel option!). I was tempted by a big sale, but my ecovangelism got the best of me and I emailed them to see what their materials were and where the products were made. This was their response:

“We manufacture our products in China. At this time, we do not use recycled materials.” . . .
Laura Jordan

So here was my ecovangelistic retort:

“Thanks for the reply, let me know if you bring manufacturing back to the U.S. to support our own country’s economy.

We will hopefully be seeing more of this as we slide into this recession, as we start to realize the social implications of our workforce choices, as the costs of fuel and transport increase, and as global emissions become commodities. Also, as more environmentally friendly and recycled materials are more available at lower costs, they are more and more becoming the intelligent choice for responsible manufacturing.

Please consider the chain of effect the production of your goods makes – from materials made out of petroleum with toxic by-products, to oppressive and sweatshop-like conditions of manufacture in China, to the CO2 emissions and fuel use from shipping across the globe, to the decline of the American workforce and our current economic downturn as the result of outsourcing these jobs.

Today’s consumers are quickly becoming more responsible in their purchasing as the conscious consumerism movement grows and each manufacturer is held responsible for the environmental and social effects of what they offer to the market. We are voting for responsible and thoughtful products with our dollars and against corporate apathy and greed by taking our business elsewhere.

Thank you for your consideration

Clint Slaughter, M.D. “

Feel free to use this letter as a basis for writing to companies that you used to use, but have phased out because of their business practices and lack of environmental and social responsibility. If we just vote with our dollar, it will be a slow transition. If we combine words and action, we might speed up the process!

Bush Administration Pushes Out Admiral Fallon, Middle East Commander, For Not Wanting War With Iran

Posted in politics on March 23, 2008 by theseep

In yet another astonishingly obvious ploy to continue their war machine, the Bush administration has forced Admiral William Fallon, the commander of American troops in the Middle East, to retire. In a recent Esquire magazine article, comments by Commander Fallon to the Arab T.V. station Al Jazeera last fall were discussed as he pushed for diplomacy with Iran rather than pressing towards war as the Bush administration has been over the last year. Commander Fallon described the “constant drumbeat of conflict” from Washington that was directed at Iran was “not helpful and not useful.” He went on to say “I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for,” and that “We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions.”

Unfortunately, even though Fallon has demonstrated success in improving conditions in Iraq, he has also called for diplomacy and peace, suggested that we are losing focus from Afghanistan where Al Qaeda has the majority of their operations still are.
So, the man who has been described by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as one of the most brilliant strategic minds in the military, has been dismissed, simply because he has suggested that peaceful conflict resolution might be a good idea after all.

The pattern or relentless imperialism, inhumanitarian practice, violation of international peace accords, war mongering, policy influence by corporate interests, and complete and utter disregard for the values and opinion of the American people (and the rest of the civilized world for that matter) is alive and flourishing in the Bush Administration.

via BBC and NYT

Barack Obama, Our Country’s Hope for Redemption?

Posted in politics on March 12, 2008 by theseep

Obama certainly is inspirational. So much so that a variety of musicians put his “Yes We Can” speech to music in a video that gives you goosebumps. Can Barack keep his integrity in todays horribly corrupt and corporation-controlled political atmosphere? Can we as a country redeem ourselves in the eyes of the rest of the world? Can we rebuilt trust and begin righting the wrongs of the Bush administration? Can we bring back the legendary American workforce and show the world that we can change from the gluttonous, wasteful society that we have become into a world leader against climate change?
Yes we can.

Pharmaceuticals Found in Washington D.C.’s Tap Water

Posted in ethical consumerism, healthcare, politics, sustainability on March 10, 2008 by theseep

The first thing that needs to be said about this is: please don’t use more bottled water as a result of this finding! There are plenty of other issues with bottled water like higher bacterial content, leeching chemicals from plastics, and the fact that bottled water is an environmental nightmare, using 1.5 million barrels of oil annually for the plastic from the U.S. alone.

Back to the matter at hand: according to the Washington post, trace amounts of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs has been found in the drinking water supply of more than 1 million people in and around D.C..

“In addition to caffeine, the drugs found in water treated by the Washington Aqueduct include the well-known pain medications ibuprofen and naproxen, commonly found in Aleve. But there were also some lesser-known drugs: carbamazepine, an anti-convulsive to reduce epileptic seizures and a mood stabilizer for treating bipolar disorders; sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic that can be used for humans and animals in treating urinary tract and other infections; and monensin, an antibiotic typically given to cattle. In addition, the study uncovered traces of triclocarban, a disinfectant used in antibacterial soaps.”

Nobody knows what this means to human health yet, with such small amounts it is unlikely to cause any immediate harm, however the additive effects are uncalculable at this point. We are continuing to find more and more potentially harmful chemicals that we are exposing ourselves to at low levels, some of which have similar hormone-disrupting properties, some that have been shown to be carcinogenic or effect thyroid function, and a multitude of others that have unknown human health implications and for which there is no know safety cutoff.

We as a society have to stop allowing ourselves to be preyed upon by the corporate sales machine – the majority of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals in our environment that can potentially effect our health are simply not necessary. I have addressed the antibacterial soap and germiphobe movement in the past, and if you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, the horrors of feedlot-grown, grain-fed beef are described, with the cows having chronic liver infections and abscesses from the food requiring antibiotics to survive until slaughter. These practices continue to pressure evolution in bacteria and is generating the “superbugs” that are harder and harder to treat. These are not acceptable or sustainable practices, we are seeing more and more contamination of our food, our water, and our homes with chemicals and toxins now an ubiquitous part of our environment and it will soon catch up with us if we continue to allow it to happen.

via Jack Foreman via AHIP Newsletter via Washington Post