TaN: NIMBY attitude – Not In My Back Yard. This is a basic tenet that most people do not realize they practice. Many of the increasing so-called concerned people would openly advocate and support movements and causes for the environment but only for as long as it is somewhere distant – especially if it has no direct impact on them or, more importantly, their financial status or situation.
In the video The Age of Stupid (again) – please refer to the TaN in my Post for Mar 4-10 2012 and earlier in my Post for Feb 26-Mar 3 2012, for the link – some 53 mins and 6 secs in, it cited an incident in the UK where one family was trying to be environmentally responsible by campaigning for the community to embrace and support his advocay but, in the town meeting, his project was rejected by a vote of 10-1 against (skip to 1 hr 13 mins 35 secs). The primary reason mentioned that that being environmentally responsible is all well and good and they are all for it, but let it be done in someone else’s “backyard” because the project will spoil the scenery and property values will drop – precisely, the NIMBY mindset. In the ensuring segment (1 hr 15 mins 39 secs), it shows the town (of Bedford, dated July 1, 2007, a news footage from Anglia Today) under several feet of water – something that has never happened in its history (according to a resident, who have lived there for 40 years).
Another good example (but I doubt if the participants will ever admit to it) is the OWS (Occupy Wall Street), where it was (supposedly) all triggered by many factors, among which are unemployment, cut in educational and rise in educational loans, housing foreclosures, and the horrendous disparity between the compensation and income of the rich and the “un-rich”. “All of a sudden”, the lifestyle the average American is no longer available – the comfortable house, the abundant food, the nice clothes…in short, the good life. However, it must be admitted that had the average Joe been able to continue with his “American dream”, there would not have been an OWS. Their First World lifestyle would not have been interrupted, suddenly become Third World.
Borne out of the OWS, people (mostly in the First World, especially the USA) began to take notice of the atrocities, the injustice, the sufferings, the human rights violations, the killings and the deaths, and the abysmal inequalities between the richest of the rich – the top 1% – and the rest of “us mortals” – the bottom 99%. The question is, will the OWS have happened had the proponents continued to enjoy their “American dream”?
In my eternal optimism, I believe, with or without the shattering of the “American dream”, something like the OWS would have eventually transpired – it is but a matter of time. It is said that “Inherent in evil is the seed of its own destruction.” It is inevitable that corporate greed and lust for wealth and power will bring its own destruction.
TaN: Sustainable development is (and should be) about sustainable living; and, sustainable living is not about the materials but maximized utility. There is an ever-present and growing continuity in ravaging and ransacking the environment for more and more resources – especially, those that are not renewable – and depleting it, instead of re-using and recycling whatever we have already in circulation (i.e., currently in use).
There is enough materials/resources in the products we have manufactured – and are now or will soon be in landfills and dumpsites – to serve as sources of “raw” materials for industry’s innovations or new products. Sustainable development and growth, in this case, would mean to take those alreaady in circulation but has been discarded and (re-)use them to produce new products. However, if I understand correctly, it costs more to re-utilize existing materials (from existing products) than to extract them from the environment – aside from the mindset that “consumers insist on or prefer ‘virgin’ materials” and this enables business to charge higher purchase prices. This would explain why business/industry prefers to devastate the environment (and “harvest”” the raw materials) rather than to retrieve or recover “used” material resources – since, it would cost more, the bottom line is “profits will be lessened”.
If we were to segregate properly and recycle all the discarded and unwanted (i.e., unsold or surplus, from over-production) products, there is enough to produce “new” products and, thereby, reduce our demand on more raw materials from the environment. That is, if we were to recover all the plastics in the landfills and dumpsites – or, better, properly establish and implement community recycling or materials recovery centers, practicing garbage segregation – we would not need to produce more (virgin) plastics that will massively increase our garbage. The existing “islands of floating garbage” in the seas and the oceans could be “harvested” to provide the materials needed for new products and ensuring that the unsightly and shameful eye sores will vanish forever.
Furthermore, the primary duty is still to maximize the use of any product. This not only shows “respect” for the creator/producer but also conserve and mitigate the strain of our demand on the environment for resources.
A final word, with respect to business activities, although there has been efforts by some companies to have packaging that are environmentally-friendly, it is not enough. The major part of the problem, when it comes to packaging and the environment, has been centered around making them (i.e., the packaging) “bio-degradable”. However, many of even the few have chosen to camouflage (in order to show to all and sundry, as their support to the environment movement and so-called “corporate social responsibility”) and circumvent their true duties and responsibilities by practicing minimum compliance (in the materials and the design) and backed by massive and sustained propaganda advertisements and marketing campaigns. In most cases, people simply – intact or not – discard the packaing with nary a thought nor guilt, for recycling, for re-using, for reducing, for maximing the productive life of even the humble packaging or container. For a great majority of the component of our landfills and dumpsites are commercial packaging and containers.
True social responsibility and sustainability considers the total impact of one’s products and activities, including the “after sales” – or, among other things and considerations, what happens to the packaging once the product has been purchased. Any and all business should, under penalty of lawful sanctions and penal actions if need be, establish recycling and reclamation centers for their product packaging and containers. If this proves to be too bothersome and/or costly for the business, then it should spur or motivate the business into designing and ensuring that there will be little or no discarded packaging or containers to recycle or reclaim. Another alternative is to design packaging and containers that consumers will have other uses for, instead of relegating them to the trash – uses that are meaningful and not the pitiful recycling into “stylish bags and accessories” or any other trivial attempt to become sustainable responsible.
And, business should not be the only ones taking up the cudgels of environmental sustainability; individuals should not be spared, for the average consumer has a greater impact on success. It is the united effort of all that success can be achieved. Imagine the futility of the government in cleaning up after the mindless and inconsiderate discards of the population. Against a massive and united army of ants, not even the largest and strongest elephant or dinosaur will prevail. This (life cycle, struggle of life) can be witnessed repeatedly in nature, as animals – gargantuan and puny, alike – flee before an advancing army of ants – the scenary and landscape slowly but steadily turning from lush and green to barren and brown, as leaves of trees and as blades of grass fall and as animal victims leave their bones and exoskeletons while the flesh and organic matter are stripped within minutes.
TaN: Presently and an “inheritance” from the Bush regime, the United States of America has (accidentally) stumbled upon the perfect system to ensure that there is no corruption and complete honesty and compliance with respect to the proper payment of taxes: the larger your income/revenue, the lesser tax is imposed. Imagine, the larger income/revenue you report, the smaller tax you have to pay. The biggest income earners – Big Pharma – has corporations that not only pay ZERO (0) taxes, they even get some kind of “rebate”.
At present, since the larger income/revenue you report, the larger is your tax, it is but “natural” or expected that you would want to report as small an income/revenue as possible – claiming discounts, exemptions, what-have-you, and, even, to point of trying to negotiate and “persuade” (read: bribe) tax examiners and auditors – in order to reduce the reported income/revenue and, consequently, the amount of payable tax.
The downside, the rich get richer while the poor gets poorer.