The Bowery Electric.
Today, April 22nd, Earth Day 2010, is the fortieth year of celebrating Earth Day! And looking back over those 40 years it is clear that things have changed a lot in our collective consciousness as well as in our behavioral patterns towards the good of our planet, including our awareness of the seriousness of climate change.
Today it is clear that a greater percentage of the population is much more aware than back on the first Earth Day in 1970, of such things as the importance of composting, or methodically recycling their garbage including E-waste, and truly thinking "green." In fact, awareness of that word "green" (the G word, if you will) is among the key things that have changed over the years -- both for better and for worse. Despite all of the well-meaning folks' adaptation of the term "green," the G word has simultaneously become a buzz word for big business to borrow. At its worst the G word has morphed into one of those hollow words that profit-driven corporations love to market as they loudly throw it on leaflets, wastefully printed up by the hundreds of thousands to inform us of just how "green" and "eco-friendly" they are.
I always think of that hilarious episode of 30 Rock starring David Schwimmer as the NBC environmentally-friendly mascot Greenzo used by the GE owned NBC to make the most money off of what they see as "the whole green trend." Of course, in true 30 Rock comedic tradition, the project backfires when Greenzo, with new-found popularity gone to his head, insists that he really believes in the meaning of "green." Furthermore, the real joke behind this 30 Rock episode is that Tina Fey and company concocted it in a slightly subversive reaction to the real-life NBC's week long green-themed programming, which the company, at the time three years ago, toted as "aimed at entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives."
Ever since I was a kid learning, practicing and mastering the sophisticated skill of dumpster diving, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by all things garbage. I think that’s why I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was young, to unearth and study ancient crap, and then take it home and put it under my bed.
Rubbish, trash, junk, waste, debris, rubble, crap or whatever pithy expression best suits the smell, garbage has always been one of civilizations greatest, never ending problems. I thought I’d occasionally dig into the tricky world of rubbish and blog some numbers, pictures, anecdotes or whatever gushes from my filthy, litter packed desk. For example, a 2004 study conducted by the University of Arizona points out that perhaps as much as forty to fifty per cent of edible food in the United States never gets eaten, an estimated $43 billion worth of edible food is tossed out every year. And here is something for Earth Day: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex in the North Pacific Gyre has plastic floating debris covering an area thought to be at least the size of Texas, or possibly twice the size of the continental United States. There is an estimated 100 million tons of flotsam in the North Pacific Gyre region alone.
Here is my favorite favorite song that's sort of about trash.