Ethical Gravity 2: Producer Responsibility Demandside

In the 1970s Environmentalists all knew that the least sustainable human activity was mining and refining, extracting petroleum and mineral ores and trees from the forests, coral reefs, and mountains. Conservationist knew that to conserve endangered species, we had to conserve habitat. The human activity that digs deepest into the remotest habitats is raw material extraction.

Why are the natural resources in such remote places? Well... they aren't.

No matter how rich in copper ore Mount St. Elizabeth of Vermont might be, the pollution that would occur from the hard rock mining would be unacceptable to neighbors.  The population density in New England had led to more environmental regulation.

Property value is at risk when ore is blasted from veins of ore, smashed with 100 ton tractors, and leached with cyanide in the open air. You cannot obstruct the view of a Martha's vineyard cottage with an oil deck. However rich the vein of gold, you cannot open a Carlin Trend, or Witwatersrand Basin dredge in Central Park.  It is easier to make paper by cutting down 100 small pulp trees in northern Canada, to truck them 200 miles to a hydropulper, than to chop a single rich softwood from the Arnold Arboretum in Boston and pulp it at the James River Paper Mill in the same city.
"Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees."
Ok, granted, those are not majestic Sequoia trees. These are low income housing for owls. But the fact is that trees appreciate if they are left to grow longer, and the Forest Industry knows that pulp demand needs both recycled and virgin sources.

Indonesia forests being replaced for pulpwood or palm oil

Ethical Gravity 1: NPR Throughline, History of the Ethics of Litter (and Vermont's Historical Role)

This is really worth a listen. It's a brief history of Keep America Beautiful, the history of ethical concerns over litter, and how voters are sent "grasping at straws", or recycling, rather than focus on the environmental legacy of extraction.

NPR's series Throughline takes a swing at how voters are influenced through guilt, and how that guilt can be diluted, harnessed, or its trajectory influenced by PR.

The broadcast starts early on with my state of Vermont, which passed the first anti-single-use law to prevent litter. That led to the Keep America Beautiful industrial organization, which leveraged white guilt  through TV PSAs... but also acts as a "gatekeeper" or authority over what voters are told to keep in mind when they feel the gravitational pull of their liability or responsibility.  (I'd previously started a draft blog a month ago on the Crying Indian, but this program does better than I can).

Industry creates environmental awareness around litter because it's closer to more people's personal responsibility and "ethical gravity".

As I shared in a retweet of MIT's Jeremy Gregory's link to the NPR story, this keeps us away from extraction, mining reform, externalization of forestry and oil drilling.
The environmental impact is mostly at a point of extraction & creation. The focus on end of life is fetishism - similar to the way we spend 9/10 health care dollars on the last year of life. Probably [Steven Pinker] @sapinker could explain fear of / obsessions with "end points in plain sight".
Will have more to write about this, and explain what I mean by "ethical gravity" and personal sense of liability for a piece of litter, as opposed to the environmental costs of the mining or forestry or carbon or energy behind the production of that litter.  In fact, the whole plastics packaging debate completely ignores how much more efficient plastic packaging is at protecting - and extending the lifescycle - of food products (compared to selling food and drink in glass or cans or cardboard).

Why No Place's Industrialization Looks Like Any Other Place

Corporate conquests, raw materials, industrialization and economic development... I'm beginning to think that African classrooms should be receiving USA 1970s high school history textbooks.

Histories differ, context differs, trade relationships differ, languages differ, currency differs.  The development of Western Guangdong Province looks nothing like the development of coastal Shenzhen. The WSJ reported last week that Viet Nam would not instantly replace China as an outsource.  In Harvard Business Review this month, author Ndubuisi Ekekwe of the African Institution of Technology and Fasmicro Group published an essay with the headline "Why Africa's Industrialization Won't Look Like China's".

It's not a bad short essay, but it could have been even shorter. If the western edge of one Chinese Province looks nothing like the eastern edge, why on earth would we expect a whole continent to develop by the pattern of eastern Shenzhen?

A Short, Short 3 Minute explanation of Ghana's Agbogbloshie Scrapyard

Intern Nanja Horning and Liotolio Gahd whipped up this brief and  entertaining short video to explain to people what Agbogbloshie is, and isn't, about.

Dinky funky funny rap on whitesaviorcomplex and the geeksofcolor who pay the price for sensationalism.