Science
Waste Management Brochure

Question Description

Help me study for my Environmental Science class. I’m stuck and don’t understand.

Resources: “The Story of Stuff” video in the Week Four Electronic  (transcript attached) SUS300 The Effects of Human Living.doc
Reserve Readings; Brochure Builder (I can build the brochure I just need the information to put in it)

Research waste in your area. How does your city, town, or state
manage waste? - I live in Los Angeles, California, USA
Create a brochure to hand out at local events and government meetings. I will create the brochure

Answer the following questions in your brochure:

• How is waste managed in your area?
• What are the current methods and initiatives for recycling, reducing,
and reusing in your area?
• How does waste management in your town compare to the
management in other locales?
• What effect does waste management in your area have on global
sustainability?
• What are at least three methods of alternative waste management
that would work in your area?


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Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 1 Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript Speakers: Tavis Smiley, Annie Leonard, Announcer (Music) Tavis Smiley Annie Leonard is a noted environmentalist, filmmaker, and author whose latest text is called The Story of Stuff. The project also features a companion piece that you can view online. Here now, a scene from The Story of Stuff. Annie Leonard Have you ever wondered where all of the stuff we buy comes from and where it goes when we throw it out? I couldn’t stop wondering about that so I looked it up, and what the textbook said is that stuff moves through a system, from extraction, to production, to distribution, to consumption, to disposal. All together, it’s called the materials economy. Well, I looked into it a little bit more. In fact, I spent ten years traveling the world, tracking where our stuff comes from and where it goes. And you know what I found out? That is not the whole story. There is a lot missing from this explanation. Tavis Smiley So what’s missing from the explanation? Annie Leonard Almost everything actually, all of the stuff in our lives has this whole life before it comes to us. In the metals where it’s mined, in the forest where the trees are felled, in the oceans where the fish are drawn, in the factories where children and women are working hard to make this stuff, exposed to carcinogens and reproductive toxins, working sometimes-horrible hours. Then it comes to us. We have it for minutes sometimes, throw it away, and then it goes to some dump or incinerator, often back overseas. So all of this stuff in our lives actually has this very, very long life and we only get to know it in the very tiny part where we see it, which is, you know, the beautiful part. So there’s a lot of hidden environmental, social, and health impacts. I became so interested in this; I really did travel around the world for over a decade and visited hundreds of factories where our stuff is made and dumps where our stuff is dumped. So I just got to see this stuff first hand. Tavis Smiley Does that mean Annie Leonard is anti-stuff? Annie Leonard No, actually, I’m so glad you asked that. I’m actually pro-stuff. A lot of people have said, “Are you antistuff?” Or occasionally I get these wacko emails where people say, “Why don’t you go live in a cave or something then?” I’m actually pro-stuff in the sense that I want us to have more appreciation and reverence for a knowledge about where our stuff came from. Right now with this culture of consumerism that we have in this country, we’re just buying and chucking stuff all of the time without stopping to think, who mined that metal? Was it some kid in the Congo who had to drop out of school to go mine this so I could get the new cellphone? Who made this? Who made these electronics? Did some woman lose her ability to have healthy children because she’s working in an IBM factory in the clean room? Who along the way pitched in to get this stuff and where is it going? I just wanted us to start thinking a little more critically about where all of this stuff comes from and what impacts does it have beyond our field of vision. Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 2 Tavis Smiley Does that mean that we are wrong to make assumptions, then, about companies being responsible in the making of the stuff they pass onto us? Annie Leonard There are some companies that are definitely responsible and that are trying to do well. I’m sorry to say that those are the minority right now. The general practice right now is that companies are using an enormous amount of toxic chemicals in our products. A lot of people don’t realize how much toxic chemicals are in our products, in our furniture, in our cosmetics, in our electronics. And those toxic chemicals then get into our homes. There have been some great studies where environmental groups have tested the dust in people’s households. It’s full of toxic chemicals because it’s in all of our products, and as long as we keep letting companies use these toxic chemicals, we’re going to keep getting them. I’ll tell you what. I’m actually a good example in this because I try to be as vigilant as possible and have a lot of awareness about this so I don’t use scotch guard, I don’t have PVC in my house, I don’t have BPA and Teflon pans, all of these things that I know about, I keep them out of my house. But when doing the research for this book I had my own body burden tested to see what toxic chemicals I had in my own body and there are dozens and dozens of toxic chemicals in my body. It just goes to show how we cannot solve this problem in terms of individual vigilance alone. We need our government to be more protective and proactive in limited the amount of toxic chemicals that companies are allowed to use in their products. Tavis Smiley And as vigilant as you are, where then do you suspect that the toxins in your body come from? Annie Leonard They just come from everywhere because they’re all over. Food is one source. Really, electronics, skin care products, cosmetics -- cosmetics is actually a technical term that means all personal care products. It’s not just makeup for women. Deodorant, sunscreens, hair conditioner, all of those things are loaded with toxic chemicals. And one of the things that is both exciting and infuriating is that the European Union has taken a different approach, both for personal care products and for electronics. The European Union has said, “You have to get toxics out of these products.” The European Union has banned over a thousand chemicals, toxic chemicals, from personal care products. But our personal care products are still allowed to have them. Same thing with electronics. In the European Union they’ve banned lead, a neurotoxin; mercury, another neurotoxin; cadmium, a carcinogen; flame retardants -- all of these toxic chemicals the E.U. says is not allowed to be in electronics over there. But we still allow them in our electronics. It just makes me think, why not here? If they can do it, why not here? Tavis Smiley What’s the difference, then, in terms of why they’ve been progressive in this area and we in the states have not been? What gives? Annie Leonard I think there’s a bunch of different factors. One is that -- I think that Europeans have a more -- a different relationship to the state. In Europe there’s a broader, more social awareness, and a broader sense that it’s appropriate for the state to get involved and take precautionary action to protect public health, whereas here there’s still a hesitation about the state getting involved. And here we’ve really allowed corporations to dominate the political process. So in Europe, the government says take the toxic Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 3 chemicals out and the companies say I don’t know how and the government says figure it out. Here, the government says take the toxic chemicals out, the government says -- the companies say I don’t know how and the government says, oh, it’s ok. You don’t have to. You know, so they -- they’ve taken a more precautionary protective approach in Europe. Tavis Smiley How do you flip that though? I think it was -- I think it was Calvin Coolidge who once said that the business of America is business. If we believe that and if we behave in that way, how do you every flip the script so to speak? Annie Leonard Well, I’m all for business and I’m all for economic activity. As I said earlier, I don’t want to go back to wearing burlap sacks and living in caves. I’m all for economy but I think the economy has to serve -- and business has to serve a greater goal which is public health, social equity, social justice, a clean healthy environment, thriving healthy economies. Those should be our goals and as long as our businesses are contributing to those goals, excellent. Let’s have more. Let’s turn it up. Let’s turn up the volume on those good, healthy, clean jobs. Tavis Smiley How do you do that though without people labeling you -- as some already have -- without being labeled anti-American, anti-capitalist? Annie Leonard You know those labels just baffle me. The anti-American one really baffles me because I consider it an incredible tribute to my country that I’m saying, “Hey. We’re not doing as well here as we could be.” If I didn’t care about America, I’d say “Fine. Drown in your toxic chemicals.” But I love this country. I’m like, come on. We can do so much better. We’re Americans. We don’t need to poison each other. We don’t need to trash the planet. We don’t need to hog a disproportionate share of the world’s resources. We have five percent of the world’s population and we use thirty percent of the world’s resources. That’s not ok. You know, the America I know cares about fairness, cares about health, cares about taking care of each other. And so that’s what I’m standing strong for, for that America. Tavis Smiley What do you think then drives, to your subtitle, our obsession, as Americans, with stuff? Annie Leonard I think there’s a number of things. One is the excessive commercialization in our society. We are just bombarded with commercials from day one, and anyone who has a kid knows that it is from day one. (Movie narration in background) So the result is, we end up with -- with a population that can identify hundreds of brands of shoes or cars or blue jeans and doesn’t know where their civic -- city council meets. They’re not engaged in democracy anymore. I really see this when I travel around the country and I give talks and I show this film, The Story of Stuff, and it lays out a really broad, systemic critique of our materials economy. I cannot tell you how often somebody raises their hand when I’m done and says, “What can I buy differently to solve this problem?” And I’ve come to see that we have two different parts of us; we have a consumer part and we have a citizen part, and that consumer part is spoken to and validated and nurtured so much from the time we’re so little, that we really have this overdeveloped consumer muscle, this, like, overdeveloped consumer identity, and the citizen muscle has atrophied. It’s so depressing when I go around and talk to Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 4 people about these issues. I say, “What else can you think of doing?” And it’s either -- it’s all “I can do this. I can do this.” I’m wondering why we’re not saying we can do this. I mean, what have we ever achieved as a society by one individual? It’s always been collective action engaged in the political process. Yeah, we’re getting all of these messages telling us if we just recycle, if we just carry our own bag to the store it’ll be fine. That -- it won’t be fine. The -- the sum of all of those things, even if we did all of those green lifestyle things, it’s not enough to get our economy back on a sustainable and healthy path and it’s letting the beauty of this country and our democracy go to waste. Tavis Smiley I’m trying to figure out if the people who are giving us these messages about what we can do to reduce, reuse, recycle, you know, a good message, an accurate message. No doubt about that. But I’m trying to figure out whether or not these people are, you know, just well-intentioned but not thinking big enough, or, conversely, whether or not there is a benign neglect on the part of those who know what we ought to be doing but have their own reasons for not really telling us that we’ve got to be more aggressive about this. Annie Leonard That’s an excellent question. I think there’s both. I think there’s a lot of environmental groups who really, honestly care about the planet and their analysis just hasn’t gone deep enough so they’re still stuck in this, turn off the light when you leave the room, ride your bicycle, and we’ll be fine. But there’s also a very concerted effort to convince us that being a consumer, a responsible consumer, is all we need to do. And I’ll tell you, one of the industries that’s really at the forefront of that is the plastics industry. In the 1980’s there was a growing concern among the public about plastics. It was washing up on beaches and landfills were filled up and people learned that if you burned it in incinerators it released all of these toxic chemicals. So the plastics industry got together and said let’s convince the American public that plastic is recyclable. And you might remember all of those commercials, you know, about the station wagon jeers to a halt and all of the milk spills out but it doesn’t break because it’s plastic, and all of these pro-plastic things. That was a concerted effort to get us to recycle plastics because that will make us feel like we are actually doing our part. And it works. And when people throw something in the blue bin, you feel better than when you throw it in the garbage can, so it’s -- in a way it’s sort of like it -- a panacea. It deludes us into thinking that we’re doing something to help when we’re not really. Tavis Smiley So speaking of doing something to help; when you have these seminars around the country, people show up to see you give your talk and they see the film that we’ve seen parts of here in this conversation, and they ask, “What is it that I can do? How do I learn more?” See, I think part of the problem in America is that there’s so much coming at us, as you know, every day. How does the average American find out the stuff that you have found out, because let’s face it; we don’t have the capacity to travel around the world for ten years doing what you did. I’m glad you did it but how does the average American discover what you know and then get prompted to do what you’re telling us we need to be doing? Annie Leonard Well, there was no the Internet when I first started, so now it’s a lot easier. You can research tons of this stuff online and there’s wonderful organizations. You can go to our website which is storyofstuff.org and we have, for free, all of these different movies that examine different parts of the materials economy. Lots of organizations to connect to. You can read the book. It has lots of details of what I saw, visiting garment factories in Haiti or toxic waste dumps in South Africa where we, for years, sent our toxic waste to South Africa under apartheid. And it was dumped in the black communities in --where nobody could move, and we were just doing that for years and years. I went to Bhopal, India, you know, the site of the largest chemical industrial disaster ever. I have all of those stories in there, plus lots of ideas about how people can get involved. Tavis Smiley Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 5 Her name is Annie Leonard and her new book is called The Story of Stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health -- and a vision for change. A wonderful documentary that comes along with that as you just heard from Annie a moment ago. Annie, thanks for the book. Good to have on the program. Annie Leonard Thank you so much. Good to be here. Tavis Smiley My pleasure to have you. That’s our show for tonight. Catch me on the weekends on P.R.I.: Public Radio International. You can access our radio podcast through our website at pbs.org and I’ll see you back here next time on PBS. Until then, good night from LA. Thanks for watching and, as always, keep the faith. (Music) Announcer For more information on today’s show, visit Tavis Smiley at pbs.org. [End of Audio] From “Tavis Smiley: Annie Leonard: Thursday, 4/8/10”, by PBS, 2010. Copyright © 2009 by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Adapted with permission. Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 1 Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript Speakers: Tavis Smiley, Annie Leonard, Announcer (Music) Tavis Smiley Annie Leonard is a noted environmentalist, filmmaker, and author whose latest text is called The Story of Stuff. The project also features a companion piece that you can view online. Here now, a scene from The Story of Stuff. Annie Leonard Have you ever wondered where all of the stuff we buy comes from and where it goes when we throw it out? I couldn’t stop wondering about that so I looked it up, and what the textbook said is that stuff moves through a system, from extraction, to production, to distribution, to consumption, to disposal. All together, it’s called the materials economy. Well, I looked into it a little bit more. In fact, I spent ten years traveling the world, tracking where our stuff comes from and where it goes. And you know what I found out? That is not the whole story. There is a lot missing from this explanation. Tavis Smiley So what’s missing from the explanation? Annie Leonard Almost everything actually, all of the stuff in our lives has this whole life before it comes to us. In the metals where it’s mined, in the forest where the trees are felled, in the oceans where the fish are drawn, in the factories where children and women are working hard to make this stuff, exposed to carcinogens and reproductive toxins, working sometimes-horrible hours. Then it comes to us. We have it for minutes sometimes, throw it away, and then it goes to some dump or incinerator, often back overseas. So all of this stuff in our lives actually has this very, very long life and we only get to know it in the very tiny part where we see it, which is, you know, the beautiful part. So there’s a lot of hidden environmental, social, and health impacts. I became so interested in this; I really did travel around the world for over a decade and visited hundreds of factories where our stuff is made and dumps where our stuff is dumped. So I just got to see this stuff first hand. Tavis Smiley Does that mean Annie Leonard is anti-stuff? Annie Leonard No, actually, I’m so glad you asked that. I’m actually pro-stuff. A lot of people have said, “Are you antistuff?” Or occasionally I get these wacko emails where people say, “Why don’t you go live in a cave or something then?” I’m actually pro-stuff in the sense that I want us to have more appreciation and reverence for a knowledge about where our stuff came from. Right now with this culture of consumerism that we have in this country, we’re just buying and chucking stuff all of the time without stopping to think, who mined that metal? Was it some kid in the Congo who had to drop out of school to go mine this so I could get the new cellphone? Who made this? Who made these electronics? Did some woman lose her ability to have healthy children because she’s working in an IBM factory in the clean room? Who along the way pitched in to get this stuff and where is it going? I just wanted us to start thinking a little more critically about where all of this stuff comes from and what impacts does it have beyond our field of vision. Annie Leonard: The Story of Stuff Transcript 2 Tavis Smiley Does that mean that we are wrong to make assumptions, then, about companies being responsible in the making of the stuff they pass onto us? Annie Leonard There are some companies that are definitely responsible and that are trying to do well. I’m sorry to say that those are the minority right now. The general practice right now is that companies are using an enormous amount of toxic chemicals in our products. A lot of people don’t realize how much toxic chemicals are in our products, in our furniture, in our cosmetics, in our electronics. And those toxic chemicals then get into our homes. There have been some great studies where environmental groups have tested the dust in people’s households. It’s full of toxic chemicals because it’s in all of our products, and as long as we keep letting companies use these tox ...
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