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The Urban Environmentalist’s Dilemma

August 11, 2009

Ed asked me to start writing a blog for The Waste Project at 1 in the morning outside of a bar in the East Village.  He had just pitched the idea to a group of his New York friends and old co-workers.  I was buzzing at the thought of it and I rambled off ideas that had been swimming around my brain for the last couple of months.  I can’t imagine any of it made much sense, but at the time he was enthused and asked me to start writing right away.  I agreed, excited by the prospect of being able to flesh out ideas in a public forum.  Of course, that’s before I actually started writing.

It’s amazing how clearly and coherent the inner voice sounds until one actually sits down to start writing.  It’s like that Warner Brothers cartoon with the singing frog that only performs for his owner.  In front of anyone else, pure silence.  It’s enough to make a person go crazy. What I soon realized, however, is that I only have part of the puzzle pieces.  I have been spinning the things I know over and over, without realizing all of the things I don’t know.

In some ways, this is great realization!  In my urban home, it seems like most people feel this way.  The sustainability and green “movement” of late has exploded, but in unbalanced ways.  Education comes in the form of advertisements, and it’s hard to decipher what is a passing fad, and what is actually responsible practice.

We know that we shouldn’t use plastic bags, but there’s very little emphasis on how food is packaged.  We want to eat natural, organic, free range and local, but what about genetically modified?  If you have to choose, is it better to eat organic or local?  We want to recycle, but how much energy does it use to recycle plastics?  Is decycle really a better word?  How much do recycled plastics and tires off gas?


In this blog, we’ll look at these questions and others through the lens of innovation, art, engineering, and science.   There will be a lot of questions, a lot of interviews and profiles, and an occasional rant or invention idea.  Please feel free to send me anything and to comment when you are so moved.

Like Ed so eloquently and concisely puts it, “it took a whole world to create these problems, and it is going to take a whole world to fix them.”  We might not know everything, but we do know that inaction is no longer an option.

Also, be sure to check out The Waste Project’s website and become a founder.

Keep spinning.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Llyn Doremus permalink
    August 28, 2009 11:51 pm

    Changing our habits enough to reduce the climate impacts that we have accumulated will require a change in values that reverses all that we hold out as essential. We believe our happiness to be a function of our consumption rates (more is better). And, the viability of our economic systems is a function of economic growth. The earth is finite, which means there is a limit to the resources of the earth. We cannot continue to grow indefinitely. Previous bloggers are right, we aren’tgoing to change these monumental values upon which our society is based in the short period of time that the climate change experts say is necessary without a major upheaval to our society. It’s quite a dilemna.

  2. eskatologik permalink
    August 19, 2009 6:47 am

    Yeah, it’s like a religion, huh?
    Sanctification can only come so quickly…

    I will not be coming back to your blog. Man is not responsible for something as monumental as climate change. Check out my blog for some Truth. God Help us all.

  3. artistatexit0 permalink
    August 11, 2009 8:46 pm

    Just came across your blog and wanted to wish you all the best. Your cause is worthy. We will need patience getting to that next step since there are many contradictory feelings that get in the way. As much as we would like to make sweeping changes overnight…that’s not realistic. I am an artist living in Kentucky and trying to make art for life’s sake. Here’s my link: Good luck to all of us.

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