up, up, up, and away
and over to the gratitude cafe
SOMERSET, Colo. — The sale of billions of tons of publicly owned coal highlights one of the greatest conundrums of the Obama’s environmental policy. While the Obama administration has ordered a 30 percent reduction of global warming gases, it is leasing land for mining of coal, which can be exported and burned elsewhere. It is the story of “contradictory energy policies undermining the larger goal of having a reduction of greenhouse gases in America,” said Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who normally is a staunch ally of the administration, but in this case one of its severest critics.
Obama may be the coal industry’s critical, if unlikely, ally. The administration has rejected calls to place a moratorium on leasing public land to mining firms — even though such leases account for 40 percent of coal mined in the United States. Nor is the administration much interested in blocking exports of coal from such leases to countries where it could be burned without antipollution controls. Or in significantly raising the price of the billions of tons of publicly owned coal now sold at what critics consider bargain rates.
Another cold and bitter splash of reality on Obama’s environmental supporters. Quite the story by Michael Kranish for the Boston Globe.
The idea works like this: All of Original Unverpackt’s dry goods—rice, cereal, spices—are stored in large dispenser bins, and customers fill containers they have either brought with them or purchased in the store. Liquid goods such as juice or yogurt are sold in jars or bottles with a deposit on them (already an all-but-mandatory system in Germany anyway). There is no minimum limit on how much customers buy, and to ensure that they get a fair deal, the containers that customers bring are weighed and marked accordingly when they enter the shop. Around 80 percent of the store’s products are organic, and while the origin of each product is listed next to the price per kilo, no brand-name products are sold.
-The Supermarket of the Future Has No Packaging
[Photo: Jendrik Schröder]
Interesting read, touching on themes that come up here on Unconsmption all the time.
A new paper by Markus Giesler and Ela Veresiu, two researchers at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in Canada [argues] that responsible consumption subtly shifts responsibility for big problems to consumers, leaving corporations free to continue as usual.
Meanwhile, the people who should be changing the game—government and regulators—are left to one side.
There’s much to be said for us consumers (or unconsumers) doing our part. It’s true that government and regulators should, too.
But I’d emphasize that businesses, large and small, are among those who also “should be changing the game.”
Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption
For his series Intolerable Beauty, photographer Chris Jordan peered into shipping ports and industrial yards around America. Though these sites remain unseen by the majority of the population, they hold the stunningly massive remains of our collective consumption. Jordan’s findings include seemingly boundless troves of cell phones, e-waste, circuit boards, cell phone chargers, cars, spent bullet casings, cigarette butts, and steel shred. Jordan describes the immense scale of our detritus as simultaneously “desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful.” Like Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of our vast industrial landscapes, Jordan’s images portray a staggering complexity that verges on the sublime. The photographs reflect the loss of individual identity that results from actions that occur on such a large scale, but Jordan hopes his work can “serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry” and inspire people to reestablish a personal stake in issues of energy consumption.
Igniting Handheld Fireworks at Summer Festivals in Japan
For more photos and videos of the handheld fireworks, browse the 手筒花火 hashtag.
Brave men of central Japan ignite handheld fireworks, bringing exciting showers of flames to local summer fire festivals. These cylindrical, handheld pyrotechnics called “tezutsu-hanabi” (手筒花火) originated in Toyohashi during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and continues in modern-day Japan with events such as the 19th annual Fire Festival (炎の祭典) this Saturday. To make these fireworks, craftsmen stuff black powder into bamboo trunks casted with thick ropes. Once lit, the cylinders spray sparks of fire until the explosives finish with a loud blast.
Shinto festivals traditionally used fireworks to protect people from evil spirits and bad fortune, and they now make up an essential summertime activity in Japan. The handheld fireworks are still crafted to present as offerings to local shrines until they are fired on festival day. Only a handful of summer events in central Japan feature this type of fireworks, and the thrilling displays of men inside downpours of sparks offer local and visiting Instagrammers a chance to capture some of the most spectacular moments of the summer.
New York City’s bodegas are responding to the demand for fresh food.
Thanks to a recent partnership with City Harvest, Jetro Cash and Carry - one of NYC’s largest wholesale outlets - will now provide healthier foods to the City’s 12,000 bodegas.
Read more about this new relationship on the New York Times.