New Environmental Protection and Public Health Ideas

Gestating ideas:

  • Make manufacturers/companies accountable for their packaging.
  • Refill and Reuse before Recycle!  I.e., the precedent for this is people used to have milk delivered to their house in glass bottles, and the milkman would pick up the empty bottles and the milk company would reuse them.  Similar to watercooler water bottles like Arrowhead water; they deliver plastic bottles of water, then they pick up the empties.  Or you can refill the bottles yourself at the supermarket.  SO obviously the milk people and the water people have ways of safely cleaning and reusing the milk and water bottles.  We should move to this model; every peanut butter jar, every jug of milk and orange juice, etc, should have a $1 deposit added to the price; you have to bring it back to the supermarket to get the $1 back; and the companies clean and reuse the packaging.  We throw away jars etc that people in third world countries would kill to have, that they collect and reuse until they wear out.  This is based on the assumption that recycling is more wasteful than actually cleaning and reusing, which would have to be tested. Products could be made of glass instead of plastic if more durable and easier to clean, this too would need to be tested.  One example of this is people reusing jars as “growlers,” they bring the jars into bars and restaurants to be filled with beer!
  • Have a campaign to make the Vatican more accepting of birth control.  It would prevent unintended conception and could prevent the spread of AIDS.   Campaign would include images and cartoons etc of God telling Adam and Eve “Be fruitful and multiply!”  Then the next cartoon panel would show God looking at an overcrowded, overindustrialized Earth, and yelling, “Whoa, slow down!  I was talking just to Adam and Eve!  They did their job!  You’re overrunning the planet!”
  • Find some way to make a global international right, human right, or common property right, to the environment, acknowledging that damage to the environment in one nation will likely affect others down the road.  How can this be done?  Treaties?  What treaties won’t the U.S. join already and why?
  • Rally local communities against nuclear power, then work up to states, then federal wide opposition.  NO ONE probably wants nuclear power nearby, but it’s hard to organize against it when people are diffuse and don’t see a coherent way to organize against nuclear power.  T-shirts: TEPCO Nuclear Power: because Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl weren’t enough!
  • Publicize the environmental harm of our current fad gadget obsession with 1-3 year planned obsolescence: keeping people buying a new iPhone or iPad every year, a new flat panel TV every 1-3 years.  This stuff goes in the trash often.  It used to be that electronics would last 5-10 years.  What waste, and the public has been brainwashed to think this is normal.
  • Make an aggregator of novel and useful environmental protection and public health ideas and other progresive ideas with the ability for people to comment, like Huffington Post or Hacker News or a more modern Wikipedia.  So that people interested in different initiatives can add input and track organizations and people working on these problems already.  It could be a public crowd-sourced progressive think tank where anyone can participate.  What should the name be?  Could it be proposed as part of an existing site/organization?  What CMS would be best for such a site?  Maybe proposing a forum/thinktank/discussion/wiki section of could work.  Maybe they seem a little too commercial though, courting businesses and advertisers, with a full panel of investors?  Hmm…

Image from The Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA) at Appalachian State University.