Category Archives: consumerism

This new-fangled ‘Green Thing’ or just the King’s Clothes?

This Green Thing - Brown Paper Bag

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young cashier responded, “That’s our problem today – your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re- Used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school), was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have a lift in every supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s Terry Towel nappies because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back In our day.

This Green Thing - Wastebin

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house – not a TV in every room and the TV had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland In the kitchen. We blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

This Green Thing - Petrol Pump

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their Mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s £50,000 ‘People Carrier’ which cost the same as a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, Not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and we didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pub!

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we Old Folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arse young person…

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off…especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart-arse who can’t work out the change without the cash register telling them how much it is!

Here endeth the bloody lesson!

GlobalNet21: Community Building Webinars & Future Programme

We have two webinars coming up that are about regeneration and community building and you are invited to join them.

The first one is on Monday Jan 30th and is called Civil Society Beyond The Radar and you can register at http://www.meetup.com/21stCenturyNetwork/events/41608212/

Civil Society is much more than what we call the voluntary sector or non-government organistions. It is the many thousands of community associations across the country that engage in a variety of different activities. This webinar is about the hundreds of thousands of community associations that make up civil society and often go unnoticed. How important are they, how can their autonomy be maintained and indeed how essential is that. We will also look at the impact of current policy/recession/deficit reduction on small community groups and also how the Big Society agenda could make that “social glue” come unstuck if it is handled in a too prescriptive way.

The Second Webinar is on Wednesday February 8th and is about Rebuilding Lives in the 21st Century.  You can register for that at http://www.meetup.com/21stCenturyNetwork/events/41105042/

The 21st Century is likely to be marked with increasing instability and security challenges across the globe, as the combined impacts of resource shortages, climate change, ethnic and religious polarisation and societal inequalities bite ever deeper. In this Webinar Robert Pye will describe how the organization Ethos is keen to work with interested and concerned members of GlobalNet21 to “rebuild lives.” By developing infrastructure capability building, Ethos is are eager to recruit individuals and organisations with first-hand experience and to uncover some approaches to funding pilot projects and experiments.

Community Building is only one of the themes that we will be covering in the first six months of this year. Other themes that we will be discussing either planned or in discussion are,

  • Social Enterprise & Its Effectiveness
  • Sustainable Leadership in the 21st Century
  • Inequality & Society
  • Social Cohesion and Diversity
  • Beliefs, Religion & Politics
  • Transforming Education
  • Creating More From Less – The 21st Century Imperative
  • The Green Planet verses Blue Planet Debate
  • Going Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Strengthening Civil Society
  • Citizen Journalism & The Public Square
  • Working with Marginalised Groups

The last two topics will culminate in a Photographic Exhibition that we are staging in May of this year on Photography and Marginalised groups.

So it looks like being an active six months ahead. Looking forward to you joining in.

Best wishes,

Francis

London UK – House Meeting – Causes of Poverty

If you’re in the London area, try getting along to this 21st Century Network house meeting on Wednesday 7th December.

Robin Smith is offering a House Meeting for those interested in discussing the causes of poverty, recession and destruction right next to enormous power to produce wealth. This sounds like a big and deep topic. We will try to look at the simple first before proceeding with anything more complex.

Read more and sign up here

It’s Christmas – The Best Time To Think about Ethical Fashion

Pamela Ravasio will present a webinar that looks at clothing manufacturing and pollution and the importance of thinking and buying ethically.

The webinar will take place on Monday, December 12, 2011, 7:30 PM (GMT)

Sign up for the Webinar at 21st Century Network’s Meetup page here

Pamela is a freelance business consultant for ethical fashion SMEs, a market researcher and a journalist. Pamela is further the founder and managing editor of Shirahime (http://shirahime.com), a blog 
that focused on the topic of sustainability in fashion, and which in 2011 won the prestigious ‘Observer Ethical Award’ in the 
category ‘ethical blog’. Pamela has previously given a webinar and organised a meetup on ethical fashion.

A new investigative report from Greenpeace, entitled ‘Dirty Laundry’, profiles the problem of toxic water pollution resulting from the release of hazardous chemicals by the textile industry in China. The investigations focuses on two facilities that were found to be discharging a range of hazardous and persistent chemicals with hormone-disrupting properties. These results are indicative of a much wider problem that is posing serious and immediate threats to both our precious ecosystems and to human health.

In the follow up research commissioned by Greenpeace International (‘Dirty Laundry 2’) it is revealed that clothing and certain fabric-based shoes sold internationally by major clothing brands are manufactured using nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). NPEs — which are used as surfactants in textile production. They break down to form toxic substance called nonylphenol (NP) which is a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties that builds up in the food chain, and is hazardous even at very low levels.

While Greenpeace did only analyse dye houses and brands that are – in the global context – ahead of their peers, the more worrying fact is: the vast majority of clothing brands have no means of telling if and what toxic substances are used in the manufacturing of their collections. And maybe worse: for a vast range of chemicals used in textile manufacturing, the long-term impacts on human and animal health and the environment are unclear, or even unknown, till this very day.

Greenpeace is challenging industry leading brands brands and suppliers to become champions for a toxic-free future – by eliminating all releases of hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and their products. And also governments have a crucial role to play by putting suitable frameworks into place and enforcing adherence and retrospective accountability.

The webinar will take place on Monday, December 12, 2011, 7:30 PM (GMT)

Sign up for the Webinar at 21st Century Network’s Meetup page here