Thursday, 5 September 2019

susan spotless says every litter bit hurts

Not to discount or dismiss the role of consumer-choice and the positive impact of reduction and reuse—and recycling programmes that are honest-brokers and not more greenwashing out-of-hand, but the manufacturing industry behind throw-away society has managed to deflect attention from itself and conveniently shift the onus and the guilt of pollution and over-consumption from themselves—saving their bottom-line, to the public.
Thoughline shows how industry launched a major re-education campaign to convince the public there was little need for thrift and re-use and to accept the single-use paradigm, seemingly enraged and enervated when the state of Vermont enacted legislation that outlawed the sale disposable glass-bottles, since they were ending up in pastures and the broken shards were dangerous for livestock gazing there. Fully aware of the down-stream effects of their actions and to sustain their profligacy as long as possible, food and beverage makers turned to the Ad Council to craft public sentiment with mascots (to include first that insufferable scolding child above, Lassie the television canine, and later Iron Eyes Cody, “the Crying Indian”) and public service announcements that make the disposable not just more palatable but patriotic (see also here, here and here). Their efforts have been pretty successful and tenacious, people internalising the message that our own greed, laziness and carelessness are the biggest contributors to the climate crisis and not industry or governments too cowed or complicit to regulate them. Listen to more episodes at the link above and subscribe for more disabusing origin stories.