Recently, my Environment and Society class watched The Lorax. I know what you’re thinking, why is a college class watching Dr. Seuss videos? For those who don’t remember the story from childhood the Lorax is a small fuzzy creature who lives in the truffula tree forest and speaks “for the trees.” He’s an environmentalist who stands up to the Onceler, an industrial tycoon who’s chopping down all the truffula trees to make thneeds, “which everyone needs.” The story goes on to show the results of unchecked, greed-driven production. The skies turn black. The rivers fill with waste. The animals run out of food and are forced to leave their home. Finally, the very last truffula tree is cut down. Then there’s nothing left but polluted, lifeless wasteland. It’s a very powerful story. So much so, in fact, that it’s been banned from schools in some logging communities. Dr. Seuss argued that the story wasn’t anti-logging, just anti-greed. Can you think of other “children’s” stories with similarly powerful messages?
If you’re looking for something fun (and free!) to do this weekend, go check out Boston GreenFest 2009 at City Hall Plaza, right outside the Government Center T stop. This event runs from 10 AM to 10 PM August 21st and 22nd with a kickoff concert tonight from 5 to 10. Over the next two days there will be screenings of the films “The Greening of Southie”, “Fresh”, “Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change”, and “Flow: The Film”. There will be speakers and workshops covering everything from green cars to eco-games to the Charles River. You can also walk around and check out the art gallery, exhibits and listen to some live music. This looks like a really fun event with something for everyone. I’m planning to attend on Saturday so maybe I’ll see you there.
We all know we should recycle, but what about products that can’t be placed in the recycling bin? Are there ways to re-use some of these products? AltUse attempts to help you do just that, with its user-submitted suggestions for re-using everyday products. A quick look at fabric softener sheets tells me that there are 8 ways to use them that have been submitted. The interface is clunky, but the idea is good. And you can rate the use idea for the product. It’s worth a look, and can perhaps help you save money and the environment.
In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to post something I learned about recently that’s meant to be environmentally conscious. Yesterday, a friend told me about SwapTree.com, a site where you can exchange products you have (like books, cds, and dvds) for others that you want. It’s a massive trading website where you just have to pay shipping and handling costs. While I’m a hoarder who likes holding on to things, I certainly appreciate SwapTree’s message of re-usability and bartering! My friend also told me that for every trade made today, SwapTree will donate $1 to the Sierra Club. (Though I couldn’t find anything corroborating that on their website.) I also think that taste is such a funny and personal issue, that it would be interesting to see what people are looking for (or looking to unload.) It seems like their could be some airing of dirty laundry-from my cursory survey it seems like people are looking to pick up much ‘hipper’ items (and trade away Chicken Soup for the Soul and Kenny G!) Has anyone tried this before? What do you think?