Monday, May 28, 2018

''Are You Eating Plastic?"

> Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. - CNN
It is SO about time for this — we now know that tossed plastic gets washed into the world's oceans and starts breaking into tiny bits which fish eat and retain, and that we used to feel confident eating fish. So this is very, very late, but the proposal is a solid advance towards a practical overall solution, and in a prompt few-year timeframe. 

Plastic bags everywhere thank you
A good start, but here's a humble Suggestion: ban the manufacture of all single-use plastic products.  And no plastic product can be made without an end-to-end plan for re-everything: recapture or recycle.

Its vendors will naturally need to work the cost of all that into the product, and voila, it's not so cheap to produce anymore, which is one of the main causes behind our ever-growing problems with the damn stuff.
> The European Commission wants to ban 10 items that make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches. The list also includes plastic plates and drink stirrers.
> The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

> On a global basis, only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling. The reuse rate is terrible compared to other materials -- 58% of paper and up to 90% of iron and steel gets recycled.  Research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans by 2050, which has spurred policy makers, individuals and companies into action.

> The Rethink Plastic Alliance -- an association of environmental organizations -- called the proposals "a leap forward in tackling plastic pollution,"
 …but said that since the proposals do not set targets for EU countries for reduction, it "could result in countries claiming they are taking the necessary steps as long as any reduction is achieved," however small.
"Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more"
by Alanna Petroff, May 28, 2018

More good ideas to solve the scourge of plastic are going into practice, like this one:
> Starbucks also announced in March it was launching a $10 million grant challenge to solicit designs for a cup that's easier to recycle.
From this blog (2014) — "What Can We Do With All This Old Plastic?"
  (Photo by Bill McN. Ross)

Friday, April 20, 2018

(How About) A Greenhouse Walking Track Community Center

A Concept Statement.

(Greenhouse on the Biltmore Estate - Dale S. Rogers)
Imagine — not just "picture," since scent is central to this— a lush, leafy greenhouse under a large, arching glass ceiling, filled with beautiful, breathing plants, most of which are also food.  It's warm, with an invigorating light moisture in the air.

Then, winding its way through this living space, a walking track, a footpath under the bowers, interspersed with fountains and benches.  There's a space in one corner, say about 25 x 25 ft., where near sundown the shelves of plants usually growing there can be swung into wheeled stacks and moved to open it up for meetings, small performances, etc.

The small café, its tables tucked in under the leaves, is always open starting later in the day, once all the work on the plants is through.  The music is selected for the tastes of the plants, the food for the people's.

You began coming here (remember, we're still imagining,) because you heard the walking path was very pleasant, and maybe to look at the various foods grown there and for sale.  But definitely hearing that interesting and generally healthier types of people were getting together there was an influence.

Once you'd been in there a couple times, you noticed how much you looked forward to that first in-breath of oxygen-rich air when you walked in the double door, and your step always became just a bit livelier.

Eventually you became a member, because you fell in love with all of it.  Membership in the co-op means that you get the best price and first crack at every new crop, with a year-round food share of whatever best grows in each season and cycle, and preferential choices for walking times and meeting space use.

You even looked forward to the open member meetings because you liked a lot of the people, and came to feel a common cause with them.

Now, realistically, we all know that good and even helpful ideas can and do run aground as easily as bad ones.  So any idea worth its salt has to stand up to a few good rounds of How's It Work, What-If and Then-What?

The key idea is that the combination of a strong, (literally) healthy Membership program, and the café (which could expand into a restaurant if the demand is there), could ease the enterprise out of the brutal stream of making it work exclusively as a retail operation on what's grown for sale.

Okay, sounds ducky; but "What If" it doesn't work?

If it didn't fly as this multipurpose dreamhouse, it could still be easily turned into simply a commercial greenhouse — unless the winter fitness or restaurant crowds are what draw the main support, who knows? — and I'll just need to find somewhere else to walk in the winter, even year-round.

It would so cool if someone would do this; I'd consider moving there and becoming your first member, how's that?

(April 20, 2018)