Saturday, May 16, 2009

If it's advertised it's probably toxic

A follow on from Pollan's thoughts...

If you join the dots between a thing advertised and the materials, environments, humans and non-humans used in the process of making that thing, you'll see what I mean.

Take this example:

I walk up to the shops in my town... a massive water tanker passes me by... they advertise their phone number on the side of the truck... I call them up... I'm told they cart bore water for bottled water companies such as Big Wet and Coca-Cola... I then call those companies... they confirm that they exploit this public resource... once public to the Djadjawurrung before their genocide... I start to think about the water being taken from an ecosystem and wonder what large scale, long term water mining will do to it... I start to think about how much carbon pollution the bottled water industry generates by trucking its product around the country... and about the amount of oil required to make the plastic and therefore the landfill of toxic waste...I find out, in Australia alone, nearly 500,000 barrels per year, and for what? Because everyday people like us, just trying to earn a living, conned us into believing that bottled water is cleaner and healthier? My body, my temple – fuck the rest of everything else. 

Conned by religious nuts, conned by business creeps, conned by dodgy politicians? Or do we just con ourselves by falling for the comforting lies of madmen? Why do we pay them attention, why do we pay them our wages?

Here, in my hand is one dot (a discarded water bottle thrown from a car window), and over there is another dot (the ecological sources of that waste). It's up to us to join the dots, for they represent industrial civilisation; they represent our modes of production; they represent us – ecophobic, disembodied and ignorantly abusive.

Take any advertised product, spend a day online researching who's behind that product and where the materials used for it come from, make numerous calls, join the dots, factor in the transportation costs to the environment, and I guarantee you'll find what I have found. Welcome to capitalism! 

It's now time to "grow your own food, catch your own water [and energy], and say hello to your neighbour" – Roberto Perez, Cuban permaculturalist, Daylesford Town Hall, 2008.

1 comment:

The Garden of Self Defence said...

Note to reader:

My manifesto advertised on my blog is as ecologically embedded a product as I could make it within budget. It is still nonetheless a waste product by virtue of the fact it doesn't contribute or particiapate in a local ecology.

To its credit, and unlike most books printed today, I could compost my copy, grow vegetables in this compost and feel safe that it wouldn't poison me or the ecosystem I belong to.