blog action day
The blogosphere is a complex organism which evolves rapidly in an ever-increasing motion. Discussions, philosophical insights, political commentaries, idiotic videos and lolcats cross each other in an apparently incoherent flow of information, unstoppable and uncontrollable. Then suddenly something extraordinary happens. On October 15 of each year the minds and hearts of the bloggers and internauts are captured by one word. Since its first edition in 2007 Blog Action Day has gathered the attention of thousands of bloggers, who were able to then reach millions of people. The idea is very simple as well as effective:
One issue, one day, thousands of voices
Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.
I participated in both the events and gave my contribution. In the October 15 post "Blog Action Day - Zero Waste" with a post about the environment, I presented a series posters which encouraged people to recycle materials, which could then be used for future products, instead of considering them just waste. Recycling is of course just the last link of the chain, as people should first reduce and then reuse materials as much as possible. The cycle of production, consumption and disposal is a fairly complex issue, and it can't be explained in a few paragraphs, and many organisations have tied to find viable solutions to solve this problem. As far as I could tell, one organisation above all has its ideas and projects very clear and effective: the Zero Waste International Alliance. They have projects, publications, as well as real life case studies. So, what does the environment and the production of materials have to do with climate change? Quite a lot. What we decide to buy inevitably has an impact on the planet. Things are very much connected, soil degradation and the destruction of biodiversity do not allow plant to flourish, which cannot then absorb CO2, nor purify water, nor provide oxygen and nutrients for the organisms that need it.
Here I am, Chicago Illinois, first time ever in USA soil. Things are getting pretty interesting, right now I'm on a Starbucks, there's a free hot spot and thanks to that I can live blog. I hold my tea paper cup and it says:
Starbucks is committed to reducing our environmental impact through increased use of post-consumer recycled materials. Help us help the planet.
Funny how this could have been a perfect starting point for last year's topic: the environment. I wonder if that really helps the environment. Of course the use of post-consumer recycled materials has been proved to cause less environmental impact than brand new materials. But is that really the point? What's the real cost of a product? It turns out that poverty and environment are really interconnected topics, the more you exploit "poor countries" resources the more you damage the environment. It's all connected, and it's all part of the same game, the game of economic growth. We live in rich countries, we have wealth, hospitals, bridges, advanced technology, corporate merchandises, cars and iPods. We are rich, indeed. According to the World Bank 1.4 billion people, or one quarter of the population of the developing world, lived below our international line of $1.25 a day in 2005. $1.25. That's very poor. I can't even buy my Starbucks tea with that.