Funny how capitalism ruins things, even when they set out to do something swell. The Treasure Island Music Festival is a fine example. Not that the fest was ruined as a whole, but their efforts at environmentalism left the stale taste of unfiltered Oakland water in my mouth. They made big efforts to make the show green. Instead of trash bins, you had landfill, recycling and compost bins, with tips on what goes where. Kudos for that. But in other respects their need to be profitable got in the way of their stewardship to mama earth.
Firstly, I was irritated by their transit plan. There was no parking on Treasure Island. Instead one was supposed to take a free shuttle from the ATT Center. The problem with that is that the ATT Center is not on BART. Anyone (such as myself) who doesn’t live in San Francisco is expected to take a one hour BART ride to the city, catch a short cab ride to the shuttle and then shuttle back over the bridge I just came from. So I’m expected to commit to a trip that would likely take upwards of two hours for a destination that is twelve minutes drive from my house? No thanks. I suppose the folks planning the event live in the city and don’t think much of us “bridge and tunnel” types. Their site offered no advice as to how to get there if you weren’t coming from the city. We took a taxi there and hopped on the all-nighter bus to get ho me. Apparently some others had the same idea because the taxi stand had more people waiting than you can fit into your average Mission dive bar. The festival bragged about having zero-emissions buses but when someone who BARTs and bikes to get around has to take a cab just to get to your show, you’ve erred on the green master-plan somewhere.
But this is an understandable problem, considering they are dealing with an island in the middle of the Bay. Their plan to get rid of bottled water on the other hand offered far more reason for me to make my indignant face. A big part of their green plan was not selling bottled water at the festival. We were encouraged to bring our own sealed bottles into the site. I suppose this was to keep people from smuggling liquor in and out of the premises, otherwise I can’t imagine why I couldn’t bring an unsealed, empty bottle and refill it there. So instead of using a container I already had at home, I bought water to take into the fest. It defeats the point of not selling bottled water if I have to buy bottled water at CVS. Then when we get inside, we check out the “refilling stations.” Here they are charging three dollars to refill your water bottle or one dollar to refill the metal canisters they are selling at the festival. These little mementos cost fifteen bucks. So folks who didn’t bring their own water are encouraged to shell down a wad of cash to buy a metal water bottle that they probably don’t need and likely won’t keep after the festival so they can
use less plastic for the next two days. What a blow to consumerism!
OK, I’m through kvetching. The Treasure Island Music Festival is still the coolest music fest I’ve ever been to.
Janet said she wanted to go the Missouri Lounge to make fun of all the hipsters. Everyone agreed that The Missouri Lounge was just crawling with the little buggers.
I was surprised. Not about the Missouri Lounge—though I’d always thought the shack looked like more of a redneck dive—but that Janet wasn’t herself a hipster. She had the chunky, short-cropped hair and the thick black plastic glasses. But no. She was a hipster hater. How could I get them confused?
We ordered drinks and Janet picked out the most egregious violators and made fun of their outfits and drink selections. We did not stay long. Janet made a request from the DJ and there was some misunderstanding, or altercation. So we left.
That incident got me thinking. Did those people deserve to be made fun of? What made them worse people than Janet? What the hell was a hipster, anyway?
Since that day many moons ago, if I hear someone use the word I always ask them what it means. Two things quickly became apparent: 1) no two people seem to have the same definition 2) never have I ever heard the word used in a positive context.
For my money, a hipster is a person with an overly-developed sense of irony. But by that definition, the guy I know who is most likely to be a hipster is a 35-year-old Indian metalhead. He’s also the biggest hipster-hater I know. The “H-word” also seems to be associated with indie rock, though no one seems to know what the fuck that is either.
Here is what some of my research has come up with:
“Hipsters are trust fund babies who go to expensive private art programs.”
“Hipsters are people who wear mismatched, ill-fitting clothes and think they are hot.”
“Hipsters are the shallow types who live in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn.”
“Hipsters drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and ride fixie-bikes and make fun of normal people.”
Oh well then, that’s clear. If I am in Williamsburg and I meet someone in an art program I can assume they are shallow and living off daddy’s money. Additionally, if I meet a girl on a fixed-gear bike in Goodwill frocks I can assume she is a snotty bitch who can’t wait to talk about me behind my back. It would do the world a good deed to run off with her inexpensive union-made brew, taunting and laughing.
Much like the yuppies in The Last Days of Disco, “hipster” seems to describe a group of people whom everyone seems to agree is omnipresent and easily identifiable yet no one can find one among their circle of friends.
In case you can’t tell, this whole thing pisses me off. Being cruel to someone based on the way they dress, the music they listen to, their neighborhood or school of choice is discrimination. It may not be based on a thousand years of oppression like the prejudice we all like to think we’re too good for, but it is certainly the opposite of the moral high-ground the hipster-haters think they have.
The American College Dictionary defines Bohemian as “a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior.”
I see very little to distinguish the hipster-hating of today from those who hated the punks and before that the hippies and before that the beatniks and on and on. No one can deny the fact that the hipster is the new bohemian, except the bohemians themselves, who’ve been tricked into thinking that the hipsters are the fake bohemians.
Thus we have an odd scenario where sews-her-own-clothes girl (e.g. hipster) and shops-at-the-Gap girl (eg the anti-hipster) can both commiserate on how much they hate the shops-at-Urban-Outfitters girl (“fake” hipster). SewsHerOwnClothes thinks she is immune because she is more authentic than those people who shop at Urban Outfitters. But you can bet your best pair of Pumas that Gap girl and the Urban Outfitters “fake” hipster would be just as quick to make fun of the freak girl with the weird clothes she she probably made on her grandma’s sewing machine (as if that’s a bad thing).
The whole anti-bohemian attitude strikes me as a backlash against a group of people who feel slighted by those who have a different set of moral standards. An example would serve better than an explanation…
Someone who thinks that they are being “special” and “unique” for liking some underground bullshit no one else cares about. And they pointlessly look down on people who don’t know anything about indie culture, because that’s the only thing they know anything about. They’re quick to call the rest of the world conformists when in reality, they are the ones conforming by partaking in a “too cool for mainstream so i am going to reject it by looking and acting like a grungy asshole” way of life only to seem uber-fashionable. They just end up looking like idiots.
Hipster: I won’t drink at starbucks, it’s too corporate.
Non-Hipster: I want a Louis Vitton purse because they are cool
Hipster: You’re such a conformist, haveing [sic] a Louis Vitton purse is so unoriginal. I like my purse I found in the gutter for $4 dollars.
Non-hipster: but it’s fugly
Hipster: yah, but no one else has it. It’s completely unique.
Non-hipster: that bum over there has something pretty similar though.
Hipster: You’re ignorant because you can’t see the real beauty in life.
I don’t have time for this, I’m gonna go to my cave of an apartment and listen to some indie rock you’ve probably never heard of….
Non hipster: You need to see a therapist
Hipster: I am my own therapist.
So the sad fashion whore who wrote that definition feels as though she is being judged because she doesn’t care where her clothes are made or how her consumption choices affect the local economy. And she’s right! I think the person who wrote the definition above is shallow and ignorant! I expect to be hated and unkindly labeled by anyone who thinks avoiding Starbucks is an example of “some underground bullshit.” That’s totally fine. Fuck that girl, and the guy who runs http://www.latfh.com, we were never meant to be friends!
But when I see the anarchists, punks, queers, ravers and other manner of adorable bohemians bitching about the “H” word, it’s too much. When someone seeks to say cruel things about a nonconformist, hipster is the first word they turn to, even if the nonconformists themselves think a hipster is something entirely different.
The focus on the hipster’s inauthenticity as an outsider, art appreciator, or moral consumer is a defense mechanism based on the labeler’s own insecurities in those same areas. The Louis Vitton-lover in the example above is an extreme example because s/he can’t even conceive that anyone would care about the journey of their designer purse from sweatshop to landfill. Your average anti-bohemian likes to think they appreciate art and philosophy as much or more than any weirdos with their weird music and their weird hair and their weird clothes. The assumption is that any reasons for being different are not better or coming from any set of values, merely contrivances. In this way, anti-hipsterism becomes another extension of the big-city-elitist versus corn-fed-anti-intellectual debate that is the hallmark of the American class system.
When the freaks, geeks, queers and quacks take aim at hipsters they are supporting conformity, regardless of what they think it means when they are around other bohemian-types.
Let us celebrate the hipster. Let us drink inexpensive beer and wear used clothes. Let’s listen to obscure music. Let’s have debates about crap surrealist literature and condone veganism. La vie Boheme, under any name: embrace it.
My Republican friend says I should just calm down. People all over the world are working hard to stop global climate change. I wonder if he is looking at the same people I am. Scary thing is, he is.
For example, he is probably looking at the new energy bill as a big step forward. The Bush Administration has pledged to a 35-mph fleet-wide fuel economy average by 2020. So in twelve years we are setting a standard for fuel economy that is five miles per gallon higher than the Model A Ford introduced in 1927. Bravo! If you still think this is an accomplishment take a look at SAE Internationalâ€™s Supermileage studies. They run a contest every year to see who can engineer a vehicle with the highest gas mileage. The biggest loser in this competition produced a car that can get 198 miles per gallon. The car made by the 2007 winner could drive 1,541 miles on a single gallon of gas. Now even if we can argue that those cars are expiremental and donâ€™t provide room for groceries or even a CD player, it is still enough to make us ponder the U.S.â€™s status as technological innovators of environmental stewardship.
To top it all off, the Bush administration is using these paltry standards as an excuse to deny California the right to cap its CO2 emissions. The California law requires new automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes by 30% by 2016.
In the past, the California standards have paved the way for other states to follow behind with stricter standards. But now the EPA is arguing that California was granted those waivers because their state had special circumstances and the U.S. needs to have a singular, federal standard (So much for the Republicans as the party promoting statesâ€™ rights). With global warming threatening to drop a world of hurt on the whole planet, the EPA says this hardly applies only to California. No matter that this was a bill passed in 2002, long before the national discussion of such standards. No matter that the EPA has historically granted fifty such waivers to California and never once denied them.
Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, put it this way, â€œThe Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution â€” not a confusing patchwork of state rules.â€ Or to put it totally the same way, David McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said, â€œEnhancing energy security and improving fuel economy are priorities to all automakers, but a patchwork quilt of inconsistent and competing fuel economy programs at the state level would only have created confusion, inefficiency, and uncertainty for automakers and consumers.â€ What a remarkable coincidence that couldnâ€™t possibly be explained by the EPA taking their cues from an oil lobbyistâ€™s press release!
In fact, both journalists and politicians are making the claim that the energy lobby allowed the government to proceed on their new emissions standards in exchange for a denial of Californiaâ€™s claim.
According to the L.A. Times:
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state Air Resources Board, said the California standards, which are scheduled to begin to take effect in 2009, could be met by auto companies with existing technology. So far, she said, 12 states have chosen to adopt Californiaâ€™s standards, pending a waiver approval. Others are in the process of doing so. If all 50 states adopted Californiaâ€™s law, it would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by 1.4 gigatons, about twice what the federal standards would achieve by then, Nichols said.
So now Barbera Boxer, (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has subpoenaed the EPA to provide a better reason and they have replied with a box full of censored paperwork. Apparently such top secret info cannot be entrusted to the U.S. Congress. Oh and Governor Schwarzenegger has made it very clear that California is suing the EPA. Who said politics is boring?
So, in summary, our government must get the permission of the auto/oil industry to pass even the most pitiful legislation. And to get such permission, they must stab another hole in the lifeboat on this sinking ship.
I know you’re busy so I’ll keep it short. Now that you’ve won the Nobel Peace Prize (congrats!), more folks are asking you to toss your hat in the presidential ring.
I’d like to counter that opinion. First of all — and please don’t take this personally — you’re a white guy. Isn’t it about time we had someone for president that isn’t a WASP (yeah, Kennedy was Catholic: we’re so diverse!). There is no affirmative action policy up in the White House, but I think it’s time for a change from the same ole same old.
Second, and far more importantly, there are a lot of folks that don’t take you seriously. I know, it’s sad that people don’t want to accept that climate change is real. But those people justify their skepticism by claiming all your good work is just a vy for the presidency. Don’t feed into this way of thinking.
I know lots of people are saying that being president would give you the power to implement the changes that need to be made. But think of all you have accomplished in the last four years. Do you really want to stop all your good work and start fundraising? Do you want to talk about social security and learn how to laugh in such a way that the media does not find offensive? Then, once elected, you cannot focus exclusively on global warming. You would have to meet foreign dictators and do photo-ops with crippled puppies and sign or veto bills. Not to mention getting entangled in this war, dealing with Korea and Iran.
Wouldn’t you rather keep hanging out with Polar scientists and spreading the good gospel of truth?
The American people didn’t really get to know you until you “lost” (I was in Florida; I know the truth) the presidency and devoted yourself whole-heartedly to your true calling.
As a birthday present to myself, I bought a copy of Poet’s Market 2008. I’ve put my novel aside for a bit but a sudden fire under my bum has been lit to get some of my other stuff published. I think Evan set this fire, by mentioning in his blog that he is interning with Sharon Olds, who is my favorite living poet. Or maybe it is this thing stirring in my belly, this turmoil about the state of the world and a desire to express that in writing. A lot of people ask me where the best places are to go dancing, etc, but I am not really interested in that. I want to go to poetry readings or stay at home and write.
The other day when I posted that article about global warming, wherein a scientist said that in one week the arctic had lost an area of ice almost twice the size of the United Kingdom, another interesting thing happened. My boss came back to work from his basketball game. The game ended early. Why? Because two players got into an argument over a foul. Not usually a game-ending event, but in this case one of the players left the game and came back half an hour letter and put a case full of bullets in the other guy. Somehow no one felt like playing basketball when one of their teammates was lying on the court full of more holes than blood. My boss seemed to be taking this pretty well.
The most striking to me about this was its insignifigance in the grand scheme of things. Oakland has a serious problem with the whole shooting thing (maybe you’ve heard about it). I’m not playing that down by any means, nor the suffering of the family. But the high murder rate in Oakland is not going to kill as many people as global warming, not even close.
This is what I want to capture in my writing: this feeling that the issues humanity is facing right now are huge, but they don’t feel huge. The day of the shooting, I also set a fire in the kitchen. I remember the exhileration of that moment, the thrill of the temporary emergency. No matter how much perspective I have intellectually, it is hard to feel the difference, it is hard to feel the suffereing of the vicitims of the shooting or global warming when that fire is the danger in front of me. And that same fire is a thousand other things, social conflicts or career concerns or a packed to-do list and on and on.
It seems that the only way people can reach these higher, more important concerns, is through art. Books and music allow us to feel, rather than only think about, these problems. And you can hear a lot of artists now are immeshed in it, this compulsion to capture the direction the world is heading. The Besnard Lakes, in a recent interview, explained it as the reason their new album is so dark. And Tom Morello described it recently in an interview on Sound Opinions, “Its preaching to the converted, well I strongly believe the converted need a kick in the ass. Why the White House is not ringed by pitchforks and torches I don’t know.” And the new (and frankly, the previous) Modest Mouse record captures that spirit as well.
This juxtaposition of what we are feeling and what we should be feeling is my new obsession. I know how to capture it artistically and maybe that’s why I have been so interested in drawing lately. I am only just beginning to explore what it means for me as a writer. I am very interested in how this conflict between the struggles of day-to-day life and the larger problems facing the world have affected the rest of you. Does it change your passion for the things you are pursuing? Some days, it makes my desire to be a writer feel like empty egoism.
On other days, that same desire seems like the only power I have to affect the world at all.
I was saying hi to my neighbor the other day, he is about my age, Mexican, drives an SUV.
I got up the will to confront him about throwing away furniture. I told him about the place up the street where they take furniture donations.
He said that that wasn’t their furniture at all. Random people had been dumping it by our trash. That is why they had started locking the gate at night (another thing they were doing that was really annoying because it doesn’t make me any safer and it takes extra time).
All it took was a little communication. Now to figure out why he’s driving that gas-guzzler.
To make matters worse, I found out that their aunt used to live in this apartment before she died. So at that time they had this whole complex all to themselves, one big happy extended family. I feel like an intruder. No wonder they are polite. We are like a ghost in the attic; they are stuck with us.
My Mexican neighbors keep throwing away their furniture. I don’t know how they go through it so quickly, but once a month or so I will see sofas and pillows and dining chairs stacked by the trash, like a big-boned house of cards.
I wonder how many tissues, crushed soda cans and credit card offers I can fit in the space these will take up in the landfill.
If they were white, I would ask them about it. I would ask whether they knew there was a thrift store three blocks up that will sell their furniture for the benefit of disabled children. I would say that I know a guy there who would walk the three blocks with a dolly to come get the stuff.
But they are not white. They are first generation immigrants living the American dream: a gas-guzzler in the driveway and furniture that matches the carpeting.
Herein lies the disconnect between us: conservation activism is a luxury. It is only conceptualized in a world of abundance. How can one think about the impact of all they have when all along the most glaring truth is all they have not? Those who cannot afford new clothes aren’t thinking about organic cotton. It is the middle class people that are replacing the innefficient bulbs in their house with longer-lasting ones. And I confess that as a poor college student I bought the cheapest ones because renters don’t stay long enough to see the economic benefits of the earth friendly light bulb.
I’m not saying poor people don’t struggle, on the contrary, their lives are defined by it. But it seems like the struggle of the poor is one for survival. They sure as hell aren’t going to feel guilty for not recycling when there are corporations privatizing their water supply.
Maybe I am wrong about this. After all, my neighbors are paying the same rent that I am. Maybe they are just typical Americans and I am blinded by white guilt. Surely there are no excuses, now that conservation is a matter of survival for everyone. But our exchanges now are smiles and nods and I want to keep it that way. Who am I to give them a lecture?
I threatened this balance the other day while murdering the kudzu in my backyard. There was so much of it that I couldn’t have told you what the fence beneath it was made of. This created quite a pile of lawn clippings. A young man and old woman come out of the apartment above while I am dragging branches to a heap half as tall as I am and just as wide. They look at me inexplicably. I ask if they know where the compost bin is (in Oakland, they have a recycle bin for compost). More confusion, some head shaking. You know, the bin that you put leaves in. The bisabuela points to the dumpster. No, I want the one for recycling. I wonder if she speaks English. But surely he speaks English. I can’t help but think that as a result of this exchange they gather that I am simply too lazy to walk the extra five feet to the trash. I vow to call the Oakland Recycling Center. They smile and nod. I smile and nod.
And isn’t this very same conundrum happening on an international level? Excuse me, China, but I can’t help but noticing that the smog in Beijeng is so bad it would be safest to never leave the house. Our Olympic athletes are precious assets and we’d rather not have them damaged by breathing in all your smog. But then someone comes along and reminds us: China is just getting the hang of the “first world,” give a country a break! And don’t get them started on the banana republics and African countries that are raping the oceans of what’s left of the big game fish. Don’t they get to have economies, too?
We go into the city to celebrate my fantastic new job, bar hopping in the Mission with Jeremy and Jenifer.
Jeremy and Jenifer are a bit older than my sweetie and I and they have the kind of financial stability we are striving for and the suburbanism we are trying to avoid.
The bars close at two and we go up to their hotel. It occurs to me that my visits to hotels have mostly been connected to conferences and road trip stopovers. The very idea that my friends are paying to spend the night in the city is exemplary of the kind of luxury that makes me bashful.
At the room, we spend a lot of time bitching about the motion sensor refrigerators. They have fridges in every room but they are already fully stocked with drinks. If you take one, the sensor records it on your bill. This is a good way to take advantage of wasted partiers and it also means that every room has a refrigerator that can’t be used. If one wants to use it, they charge a twenty dollar fee to have its contents removed. This resonates with me as a symbol of what’s fundamentally wrong with this society: the hotel pays for every room to have an unusable fridge while so many people in the world still don’t have refrigeration. It is the same as the empty houses in a city with so many homeless, the same as the wasted, unpurchased food that rots in the trash while so many people starve.
The only word to justify such logic is profit.
I have been reading Derrick Jensen and he is caught up in the idea that the dominant culture is insane. The only way to choose sushi and freeways over birds and tuna and the preservation of the climate, he argues, is to be crazy. It is crazy to destroy one’s landbase for any reason, much less so we can all pay for minibars in our hotel rooms. But I don’t think the dominant culture is crazy. It does not have, as Jensen puts it, a death wish. I believe we are merely short-sighted.
Leaving the hotel room I couldn’t help but see how easy it is to fall into this luxury, how very second-nature it is to me.
Standing in the big glass elevator, I hear its mechanical WOOSH and we are swept past eight floors, each one arranged precisely to be sterile and beautiful and non-offensive. Everywhere I look I am surrounded by artifice. There was no elevator muzak, but in such a moment there should have been. Sean was saying something about how all these hotels are designed the same way, like a formula. Briefly I feel science fiction, like this can’t be real, these smooth and perfect elevators in this smooth and perfect structure. Some day people will look back in awe, trying to imagine living in a world so pristine, in the same way impoverished Cubans wonder at the splendor of Batista’s muraled and gilded palace. Some day this same building will be dark and dirty and people will try to imagine how beautiful it must have been to ride in those glass elevators (It’s the same hotel featured in the 1977 Mel Brooks movie, High Anxiety).
Yet this kind of luxury has been omnipresent my entire life. Even as someone that has tried to take a step back and evaluate where my culture has come from, where it is going, the electric glow of the hotel lobby is expected, commonplace. Nature is what’s alien.
Humans are not good at connecting the dots. Even if I can see the connection between eating sushi and the “clear-cutting” of the oceans, it doesn’t touch my life. I have my own dreams, things I’ve been aspiring to as long as I can remember. Everyone does. Rarely does the trajectory of our lives come unhinged by the things we read about in the news. I know the polar bears are dying but there are so many things I want to do with my life that have nothing to do with polar bears. These few who say, “this is more important than my life, more important than anything I have ever wanted for myself,” are far out-numbered by those who are following their dreams in the system that perpetuates the destruction. Not sinister desires: musicians and writers, lawyers and firemen, chefs and film makers all rely on the continuation of the current system. And how could they not? Their dreams are born in it, they have never known anything else.
I am consumed by these thought as we drive home over the bay bridge. Sean is talking about how much he enjoys the ride. It is all downhill and easy turns. The cars speed at 80. The bridge has two levels and we are on the lower. In the distance there is a column of smoke. It goes higher than the concrete ceiling that limits our view. The smoke is so black it stands out against the navy of the night sky. It is four a.m.
As we leave the covered part of the bridge, the traffic slows to gaze at the biggest fire I have ever seen. Flames are easily shooting seventy feet into the air (later figures are 250 feet). The onramp we are passing is on fire. People are pulled over to look and take pictures. A firetruck is arriving at the scene and even the fireman is using his camera phone to take pictures. The fire is on the “maze,” a cluster of ramps that go onto the bridge. It has entirely consumed whatever started it. The lower ramp is broken in two and, as we drive by, the people gawking gasp: there is a crack as the flames consume the higher overpass like so much kindling in a giant campfire.
This awakens me from my daze. Through the glass and steel encasing of the car, the fire beckons, a bright bold reminder of nature, powerful and awesome. It is enormous. The firetrucks are powerless to stop it, at most they can only hope to contain it.
Tomorrow, I will hear radio recordings of of penguins making distress calls because their ice is melting. I will learn that the bluebell flowers are dying and thus so are the orange tipped butterflies and the birds that eat those butterflies (and so on). Just as every day I hear of the disappearance of some frog or the bleaching of the coral reefs. And I will go on singing and blogging and drawing.
But on this night my animal instincts are touched, the blaze attacking my artificial world like a giant pillaging the village. Still, I am civilized. I know there are firemen whose job it is to confront this giant. My job is to stay in my car. This is my place, our place, to sit by and watch as the whole world burns.
This Sunday is Earth Day and I have an idea for something low-key that folks can do to celebrate.
Choose one day to be obsessed with plastic. Why plastic? Because you can’t make it without oil. Since we’ve used up half the earths supply and are rapidly increasing the rate at which we use it (as other countries industrialize), it is likely that in our lifetimes it will run out. This will impact our lives in many ways besides the fuel to commute from the suburbs, and plastic is one of them.
Take some time to really notice just how much plastic is part of the American life. How much of the food you eat comes shrink-wrapped or in resealable bags? What about the cables and cords that electrify our world? Hospital equipment is often plastic. My printer. My monitor. My stereo.
Whether you see it or not, most things arrive shipped in plastic. Even at the hat shop, every hat we sell comes wrapped in a plastic bag. These don’t get reused or recycled. We fill a trash bag every day. When you buy something new, it probably arrived in a plastic bag and will go home in a different plastic bag.
Take a moment to look around the room and see how many things you can see that are made at least partly of plastic, or used plastic as part of their shipping process. Because that’s something we may not have when oil is finished.
What generally strikes me about this little exercise is not how much I will miss these items. My usual thought is, what a waste. The world is running out of oil and we are wrapping rubber and plastic Barbie’s in paper and plastic boxes. The world is running out of oil and we are eating off of disposable plastic forks. How will we explain to our
children that we used our most precious resource for disposable toothbrushes? When there is no oil, how will we justify glossy magazines with plastic-infused pages?