Monday, September 13, 2010

In which my mind exploded......again.

It has been a while since I have written an environmental rant.  I think it is time to remind my readers that I am one of those flaming, ranting, environmentalists who weep for  our future.

Plastic is evil.  I know this.  I have already written about the evils of plastic.  Mr. F. and I have purged our tupperware and are getting quite obsessive about replacing our plastic containers with glass, etc.  However, when thinking about the evils of plastic, I have been focusing on things like chemicals leaching out of plastic and effecting me and my family.  Perhaps I even go so far as to think about all the plastic hanging out in our oceans and landfills.  What I wasn’t thinking about was the creation of plastic and what a hugely toxic process that is.

Mr. F. and I watched Tapped the other night.  Like Food, Inc., I think it is a movie every single American should watch.  It is the type of movie that really makes you think about your decisions as a consumer.  It makes you accountable for your actions and decisions.  I won’t give a blow-by-blow of the entire film, but there are a couple of points that just BLEW MY MIND.

In one particular segment, the movie talks about the process of making plastic water bottles and they focus on a petro-chemical plant in Texas.  In the surrounding neighborhood, people are dying.  Dying from cancer, dying from other illnesses, all because of the benzene and other chemicals in the groundwater and the pollutants in the air.  And then the part that really angered me--the regulatory agency that should be protecting these people, is not “allowed” to investigate the plant unless there is public complaint.  They are also not allowed to inform the public of all the toxicity that surrounds them.  (Because that would cause them to complain and then they would be allowed to regulate the plant).  And excuse my language here, but what the hell!?  How twisted and corrupted is that?  Looking at these people, stuck in a toxic location with very little power to change their situation, I realized that my purchasing of plastic (all plastic and not just plastic bottles) contributed to their poor health.  It made me sick.  

This movie is also as much about water as it is about plastic.  It is quite scary to think about how we as a society have been using water like it is a endless commodity.  Which it isn’t.  Nor have we been protecting what limited, clean water we possess.  In one of the extra clips, the movie interviews a couple of residents of a small, farming community in California.  The community is made up mostly of migrant workers.  The people of the community have to buy water to drink, cook, and even bath in because their water source is so polluted from the over-used pesticides and fertilizers of the surrounding farms.  What is horribly ironic is that there is a clean water source not a mile from the community.  However, that water is to service the farms.  The same farms that are polluting the residents’ water source, and the same farms for which they work.  SO WRONG.

The watching of this movie coincided with a noticeable change in our tap water.  The past week or so, I have stepped out of the shower smelling like I have gone for a dip in a swimming pool.  The clothes I have taken out of the washer smell like I added bleach to the wash, although I hadn’t.  The county has obviously been shocking the system with chlorine, and it makes me wonder why.  This and the movie has Mr. F. and I revisiting our thoughts of buying some filters.  We have a filter in our fridge that filters our drinking water, but now are wondering about shower filters, tap filters, and perhaps even  a whole-house filter.  Does anyone have any experience with this?

That being said, a filter only takes care of some of the main contaminants.  There are a lot of chemicals such as pharmaceuticals like antibiotics and hormones imitators that don’t get treated for nor filtered.   

Watching movies like this leaves me both outraged and depressed.  I get so incensed, but overwhelmed at the same time.  What can one person do?  I guess, I will continue to make conscious choices in my purchases--choosing other materials over plastic.  But how do I make a difference in terms of how we as a society treat our water?  I am not one to write to my local congressman, but perhaps that is what I need to start doing?  What are your thoughts? 

1 comment:

Retail Worker #48721093 said...

I think water is one of the biggest issues that is never addressed adequately. People don't notice it because it is so heavily subsidized cost-wise and, in most communities, when people turn on the faucet there is water. If the water stopped flowing or folks were having to pay $10+ dollars per gallon of water maybe it would become a talking point. Until it hits the pocketbook it will never be as important as oil (and we all know how oil became a front page issue once gas crept past the $4/gallon mark).

Have you watched 'Gasland'? Another documentary full of WTF moments. Covers the natural gas industry and 'fracking'. If you haven't seen it, it talks about the pollution that comes from natural gas drilling and the unknown chemicals (because there is no regulation forcing the industry to disclose) that are put into the water table (a lot of this takes place in the Pennsylvania area). It's a disturbing movie.

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