China and Recycling

Wow, wow, wow. Serious internet toboggan this afternoon that began last night at Foresight Design Initiative Green Drinks. The topic was “Art and Sustainability”, so of course I was interested (and also the founder of Foresight is an Obie alum), and so I went and listened to members of Chicago-based Filament Theatre Company discuss their journey to become a sustainable theater company. I met an artist there who does performances using trash, and looking at her blog led me to My Plastic-Free Life.com, where a woman has dedicated the last 4 years to almost completely eliminating plastic from her daily life. She challenges others to analyze their own plastic consumption by collecting, photographing and blogging a week’s worth. I want to take this challenge, and I’m hoping my sister will do it with me (we live together).

I feel very fortunate to have gone to Oberlin where the awareness of living sustainably was rampant, and at times even militant. Other students knew a lot more than I did, and I credit co-ops and my friends Margaret and Jake for their influence. Now I know how to compost, and not to flush after peeing, among other things. But I realize that not everyone has this experience, and aren’t as inclined to change their behaviors and buying or flushing habits. Living in awareness of the environmental choices I make is very important to me, and I want to spread the awareness, but I often struggle to be a very convincing activist. I trained my parents to take fabric bags with them to the grocery store, and bought my dad a home water carbonator for Father’s Day (it’s awesome!). But I had trouble ‘converting’ my previous boyfriend, and currently my sister, who doesn’t think my “hippie” deodorant is worth the natural sweat (antiperspirants contain aluminum tri-somethings that are a known carcinogen). I feel like this is something I could write more about.

Yet, in a further slip down the internet slope:

Crazy, right? I knew that a lot of the US’s recycling went to China, but seeing the images themselves is something else entirely. I spent five months in China during which time I drank the tap water (after boiling, of course). I didn’t want to buy purified bottled water, which would result in piles of empty plastic, yet now knowing what was in the water I drank makes me feel a little gross. What will I do next time I’m in China?

One thought on “China and Recycling”

  1. Margaret
     · 

    How did I miss this post? That video is super depressing (but great for vocabulary! I’m going to transcribe the Chinese for practice)…Yay for sustainability! I will die happy if I can get even the most conventional of my friends to let it mellow if it’s yellow…!!!