Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ask and you shall receive....

No sooner did I wish for the change in China to a more greener lifestyle, than the Wall Street Journal feature a page one article about Chinese getting activist about dealing with the tidal wave of disposable chopsticks the country consumes to the order of 63 BILLION pairs of chopsticks. It really is a staggering amount, but it's no surprise in a country of one billion people, that means people are eating out about 63 times a year for some of their meals. If we think about the number of disposable forks we use or Starbucks cups the number would be comparable. What is impressive is that it's becoming an issue in a country that is developing not yet developed.

Disposables are a huge problem in every country that can support them, they are major employers. In China it's estimated the disposable chopstick industry employs 100,000 people. That's 100,000 families that depend on those jobs. Notions of consumption and planned obsolescence are primary drivers of our economy. I'm not sure what the answer is.

Another interesting point was that in China, much of the awareness stemmed from pop stars bringing up the issue. As our presidential campaign season rolls forward the question is where does change come from. Pop culture or political culture. I think both, pop culture leaders can create the public acceptance through their fans wish to emulate them, and that can make it much more politically feasible to implement changes in policy that do the heavy lifting.

Pop stars, keep asking, and we should keep electing that who do the giving....


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