Shouting from my soapbox: Who the hell's responsible here?

I picked up the book true green, published by National Geographic, with a foreward by Ian Kiernan, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up the World. The subtitle is "100 everyday ways you can contribute to a healthier planet." The cover says the book is by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin. I've heard of National Geographic, haven't heard of the rest of these folks. It's broken down into areas of your life where you can "make a difference," like 'in the home,' 'at work,' etc. So this Clean Up the World thing is huge apparently. According to the blurb in the back:
"Fifteen years after its launch, the campaign has become a successful action program that spans more than 120 countries, encouraging communities to take control of their own destiny by improving the health of their community and environment." Have you heard of this program, outfit, whatever you want to call it? It started as Clean Up Australia and morphed into this version.

Here's my problem: I'm reading through the things I can do, around my house, in my yard and the thought occurs to me, "Is there a book like this for ginormous corporations?" Since the federal government obviously doesn't give a rat's ass about the environment or our health, who's helping Proctor & Gamble or SCJohnson or General Motors or L'Oreal or Jack in the Box be true green? The agencies, both federal and state, that might hold a large corporation's feet to the fire, have made it clear they're not interested in passing laws OR enforcing existing laws that will move us closer to a safer, cleaner, healthier world. My personal opinion is that the individuals who make up the governmental groups are getting rich off the individuals from these special interest groups and lobbyists. I can just see it: a couple good 'ol boys (although I'm very aware that there are good 'ol gals too) yukking it up about the toxic dump that's NOT going to get cleaned up or the chemicals that ARE going to go into air fresheners or the emissions of the newest cars that WON'T pass any tests, yuk yuk. Have another whiskey?

See, that's the thing that really jerks my chain. We have to do our part AND we have to make these overgrown bullies do their part too! WTF??!! I'm really tired of carefully taking canvas bags to the market, carefully turning off every unused light, carefully reading labels (until I think I'm going to go blind), carefully getting rid of the toxically poisonous products from our house, carefully trying to educate the stupid imbeciles we have for neighbors, and so on ad nauseum. I want the really gigantic, huge, humongous, gargantuan, great big companies to HAVE TO DO their careful part. You get what I'm talking about here?

Remember Donovan? That wonderful, funny, kind of flipped out singer from the '60's? He said it perfectly in Riki Tiki Tavi. We have to do it ourselves. We have to kill the snakes. Us. You and me. We have to make the big corporations sweat, we have to hold their feet to the fire. How? Fuck if I know. But it seems to me it's time to bring back the Monkey Wrench Gang. In the meantime, here's our old friend to sing it out for us:

This is why we need Slayde to hurry up and finish Law School. She's going to help us kill these fucking snakes.

I finished this but had to come back and add this: do you have any idea how many goddammed eco-friendly, environmentally conscious, green-e, etc. new programs, companies, groups are cashing in on global warming? I am stunned and thoroughly pissed off at people who are touting wind and solar power as if they'd just been discovered. Oh my god. This is so crazy. When Allison was about 5, I knew a guy who was trying to get wind mills used all over California. That was ages ago and now there are those big wind farm things and people are all proud of themselves. Argh!


Anonymous said...

Hey there,

Just to let you know, there is a follow up one for businesses big and small... True Green at Work.

I was reading about it on this website yesterday:


Of course, the big businesses have to actually do it, but hopefully some will!



Cathy Mullins said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment and the tip about the book. I went to betruegreen.com and had a look at this book. I know that it's important that we all feel we're doing something to help, that we can begin to feel that we're not part of the problem. And all the little things do add up I suppose. But we're a day late and a dollar short. This book doesn't come close to what I was talking about. Companies like Proctor and Gamble make two versions of personal care and household products: one for sale in Europe where the law will not allow them to use the toxic chemicals that ARE allowed in this country and the version that HAS all those chemicals that's sold here. That's what I'm talking about. It's a complicated problem. The FDA, EPA, CDC, GreenPeace and other NGOs have been wrangling and hassling over the toxic chemistry issue for eons. The thing is, the lobbies are so intense -- the chemical manufacturers, the fragrance manufacturers, even the flavoring manufacturers, the cosmetics industry, and on and on -- nothing fazes these people. They just keep on keeping on, making it possible for untested but highly suspicious chemicals to continue to be used. These are the issues I'm talking about. Oh, and we mustn't leave out the large scale pollution of rivers and streams caused by the manufacturing of these chemicals.

Coffee Messiah said...

Yep, I remember the 1st Solar Panels being sold in Ca and how expensive they were. And, way back when, the "Electric Car" that people in Sacramento were starting to use, and Solar Panel Cars.

You also have to read close, because some of the so called "green" stuffs, aren't! ; (

Cathy Mullins said...

CM, You said it! Read everything very carefully and with your pocket chemistry dictionary handy.
I'm really sorry for my part in making this mess. We all did it -- consumerism, materialism, "good" advertising (isn't that an oxymoron?). No raindrop thinks it's enough to make a flood, right?
I'm still mostly angry at gigantic corporations that seem to be above the law. The history of the FDA is frightening.

cyndi said...

See, this is the side of you that I fell out with.

What if I were to tell you I carry plastic bags, don't believe in global warming, and I hate people who do?
- Yes, that's what I thought.

Now, what if I told you I had been sending petitions around for years, trying to get people to think exactly as you do, that I think exactly as you do?
-Yes, that's what I thought.

No one, anywhere, thinks just like you do. That can be said of us all.
Even you don't always think like you do.
"Good" people don't think like you do, and "bad" people don't think the opposite of how you think.

I wonder what the people who have been your close friends all these years do think like, and how they manage? Maybe they don't take you too seriously, focusing on the good, and ignoring your occasional rants. Maybe you have actually found many people who do think pretty much like you do.

But, under all the opinions, politics, causes, lies, truths, justice and injustice, there should be something more compelling.
Maybe a solid bedrock of acceptance - not of people who agree with you, but of people who don't - if those people are who you want to call "friend."

You dig deep into issues, into uncomfortable places where today people fear to tread. I like that. That's meaningful. It's courageous.
But then, you censure. And that has always made me wonder if behind it all, the real power behind this side of you is rage that needs a way out.

I love your photos. I love your talents. I love your valiate self, and your energy. I can even cope with your rage, when it's directed toward someone else.

I love you.
But I'm not like you.

Remember when you tore into me for not appreciating your friend's whimsical earrings? I have no sense of whimsy. None.
I don't understand whimsy.
You can't change that.

Kim had a keen sense of whimsy. I didn't appreciate that about him, but it was ok, because I knew and trusted and accepted him, then. I'm using Kim as an example to tell you something about me.

I admire much about you, who you are, aside from your rants. I, too, have strong beliefs and opinions. A lot of them are different than yours. I know I have a difficult personality in certain ways,too.

Do you know Meyers Briggs? As a teacher, you might. I am a INFJ and INTJ combination. Look it up.
An even blend of two very different things which have a common source. Maybe you will learn why I am the way I am.

If you want to find me, why don't you google me, like I did you?

But if you do, be prepared to learn I am different from you in ways that seem to matter to you most.
If you can accept that, maybe, one of these days, instead of attacking or withdrawing, we can talk it out, once and for all, and then see if we like ourselves and each other any better or worse, once everything is really out there.
I can be a blunt and outspoken person. So can you. That can make for a lot of bruises that heal slowly. Friends shouldn't hate each other. - Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?

If you contact the webmaster (Slagge) in the RollCall site there, he can put you in touch with me. Your name is there, too, because I made him put it there.
Friends remember each other.

And btw, also check out Faith and Values, click on Scientology, really get deeply into the site, and settle back for many hours learning things about your past that might curl your hair. It did mine.

But before you do any of that, have a wonderful trip, take lots of groovy pictures, especially the birds and the trees. It's a beautiful country.


Cathy Mullins said...

Cyndi, perhaps you should go back a ways in this blog and read Confessions of a sanctimonious know-it-all self-righteous asshole. I know I'm opinionated and I know I'm abrasive and I know I like to rip people a new one when I think they're wrong and I'm right. Why do you think I call some posts "Shouting from my soapbox?" I KNOW I'M UP ON A SOAPBOX AND BEING A JERK.

And I also know that I don't have to have my way. I know that there needs to be balance, both in my life and in life in general. I do need to feel that my caring will make some small difference.

I don't actually judge other people so harshly as you may think. My friends know that I'm intense and passionate and like to wave my arms around. They tolerate that about me and I don't make a big fuss about whether or not they're on MY bandwagon. Actually, a while back, Allison told me she wasn't going to speak to me anymore if I didn't stop pressuring her to take up $cientology. I shut up immediately.

I registered on Roll Call, even though I don't quite get what it's about. I also sent Slagge (is that the same guy who was your boyfriend a million years ago?) an email asking for help getting in touch with you. Why didn't you just email me directly?

I'm intrigued about the Faith and Values and Scientology thing, but I'm afraid I failed miserably -- I couldn't find what you were pointing at. Maybe you could be a bit more specific.

Are those your articles in the Christian Examiner? Interesting.

See you around.