J500 Media and the Environment


How ending wars can save the environment by bryand09
Uploaded to Flickr.com on September 28, 2008 by Wild-Jungleman

Uploaded to Flickr.com on September 28, 2008 by Wild-Jungleman

By himself, Obama cannot clean up the environment, stop global warming, or create a single green job.

Stop for a second and really take this statement in. It may seem obvious, but with all the demands competing for Obama’s attention, an outsider might think US citizens have forgotten the basics of US Civics 101.

Pop quiz: what is the president’s job? Between signing statements and executive orders, we may have forgotten that it’s not the president’s job to make laws but to make sure they are being followed. His job is to make sure the laws are being “executed,” hence the “executive” branch.

Today, our president is our chief economic adviser who talks with the media about spending more money that we can possibly conceptualize. But just because he isn’t a legislature, that does not mean he can’t help the environmental movement.

Take his power as commander and chief of the military. Obama has the power to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan but instead is sending 17,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan and staying at least one more year in Iraq.

The environmental damages caused by war may be obvious. But the real killer is all the money we are spending abroad when we have so many problems at home. The congressional budget office estimates that we will spend 2.6 trillion dollars fighting these wars by the end of 2010.

It all comes back to spending and what we choose to spend our money on. Look at how much we spend on defense as opposed to energy. Look at how much we spend on education compared to health care. If we taught people how to eat healthy and prevented our ground water and food supply from being contaminated, would we need to spend so much on health care years down the line? If we spend a trillion dollars on wind turbines, would we really need to fight wars over oil?



Tangled Up in Green: The Five Years War by rarab

Editor’s note: The following is part of the Tangled Up In Green series put together by yours truly and Adam. This piece was originally published last week. Our current topic addresses the environmental concerns linked to rising corn prices. Rather than post the entire piece here, I thought I’d provide a snippet and allow you to continue reading it at RedGreenandBlue.org if you’re interested. Feel free to leave a comment at either site if you feel so moved.

We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We’ve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we’ve got

Okay, so maybe the above David Bowie lyric was about alien invasion and the impending end of humankind as we know it, but it’s been playing on a loop inside my head ever since last Wednesday, when we “celebrated” the fifth anniversary of our war in Iraq.

Five years. My brain definitely hurts a lot.

While the current administration will have us believe that the surge is working and that stability has returned to once volatile regions, the truth is probably closer to a “whack-a-mole” strategy that shows no signs of leading to a peaceful resolution for this ongoing nightmare. A majority of Americans now say this war was a mistake, and we continue to hear reports—be it from the peripheries—of civilian lives lost, soldiers’ lives lost, soldiers injured, vets suffering from PTSD, tax dollars spent, etc. Still, perhaps one of the greatest casualties of this war gets very little mention.

I’m speaking, of course, of the environment. Read the rest of this entry



Make Less Trash, Not More War by shemme

Definitely not as cool as “Make Love, Not War,” but hey, sometimes you just gotta try stuff out.

FACT: Americans collected and recycled rubber, paper, scrap metal, fats, and tin cans during the 1940s to help the war effort. These efforts actually resulted in 25% of the entire waste stream being recycled and reused!
(Source: EPA “Milestones in Garbage” report)

warposter1.jpgWWII: “Help put the lid on Hitler by saving your old metal and paper.”

FAST FORWARD: It’s 2004, America is again at war, this time in Iraq. Soldiers overseas defy orders and report to journalists that they don’t have the necessary armor on their bodies or their vehicles, and there aren’t enough field radios, night vision goggles, or ammunition to go around. Back home only 36% (about 7 million tons) of metals are being recycled. Metals during this time make up 8% of the total waste stream. This means that despite soldier needs, 19.4 million tons of metal are being buried in landfills. Could there have been a national war effort to recycle all of this metal to keep our soldiers adequately supplied? I think so.
(Source: EPA “Facts & Figures” data)

Did we let our troops fight without wartime necessities because nobody really asked us to DO anything? Sure, there are the signs, bumper stickers, etc. that yell “Support our Troops!” but what does that really mean? If someone had told you it meant recycling, would you have done it?

Maybe it’s time to make recycling a patriotic act…again. Recycle for your country, recycle for the troops! It’s your duty as an American, after all.

NOW: It’s 2008, we’ve still got troops in Iraq. We’ve still got families purchasing body armor for their sons and daughters with money out of their own pockets. The unmet needs of our troops overseas are still there.

Won’t you take a look at your garbage? Won’t you help us reduce, reuse and recycle?

I did take a look at my garbage. I produce less than a pound of waste each day. The average American produces about 7.5 pounds a week. However, you’ll never find a can, #1 or #2 plastic container, glass, any bit of cardboard, chipboard, or paper in my trash.

There’s a war on, don’t you know, and I’m doing my bit. Are you?

~ Sarah H

img_0036.jpg

Above: Our recycling in the garage…

Below: Take a hint from the 1940s: carpool or ride a bike.

wwii_save_gas_poster.jpgride-with-hitler.jpg

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