Archive for April, 2012

Green washing

The “Greener Living” headline on the cover of the local Metro newspaper today caught my attention. It turned out to be an add sponsored by a bottled water company!

The paper included a four page insert that features tips about Zero Waste, stories about things like Extended  Producer responsibility and the environment.  I was bemused and a little annoyed to read that “Metro has partnered with Dasani to “teach Canadians about  Choices” Really?

Clever marketing schemes like this disguise the truth, and while I appreciate the fact that some information in this ad is actually factual, the bigger story is the  Green Washing of this product.

Most people are aware of the environmental catastrophe that has resulted from the bottled water industry. Companies like Dasani (owned by Coca-Cola) want to green their image and help ease consumer concerns by creating plastic bottles made out of plant materials instead of the traditional petroleum plastics. The fact is that we are facing a food crisis, we are also dealing with a global garbage disaster, with a major source of the this garbage being disposable water bottles.(plastic or otherwise)

1 second — that’s 90,000 bottles per minute

From the reuseit site;

Fast Facts on Disposable Bottles

  • 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles and jars were thrown away in one year (2008).
  • Tap water is cleaner, cheaper and healthier than store-bought water.
  • 60 billion single-use drink containers were purchased in 2006, and 3 out of 4 were thrown out directly after use.
  • Plastic bottles are among the most prevalent source of pollution found on our beaches.

Understandably  water bottle companies are now taking a new approach and turning to non petroleum based plastic for the bottles.  This does not stop consumers from throwing them away.

Bottled water has been proven to be less regulated then public drinking water, it is more expensive and  destructive to the environment, from the natural disruption in water flow at the source through the manufacturing and transporting of the water itself. It carries a large carbon footprint.

Single use items and products made to sooth our conscious, without long term thoughts about the impact these products have on our planet and sustainability are just a ploy to confuse matters.

Using Sugar cane Ethanol From Brazil is suppose to give us all a happy kumbaya feeling about this choice, but it leaves a bad taste behind.

When we choose to turn food into fuel, packaging, or anything other then nourishment, while millions of people around the world,(especially in places like Brazil) don’t have enough to eat each day it is not responsible. The production of sugar cane entails mono-cropping, the extensive use of pesticides, and perpetuates poverty.  We have to question the ethics here, and the reality of what choosing to support this product really means.

It is not just another choice. The reality of the matter is this;  if we  support products that harm the people and the planet we will all be forced to deal with the consequences.



John Taylor Gatto

In the realm of educators, John Taylor Gatto is somewhat of an anomaly. He was a New York City school teacher for thirty years. Over his career he earned many distinctive accolades including New York City, and State School Teacher of the Year many times. What is different about Gatto is obvious if you have read any of his  books and essays published over the years. He feels we need less schooling, and real choices in how we educate our children.

I am a huge fan of his, and with each of his books  I read, I am more convinced that our decision to home school our children is the right one.


Recently I picked up Dumbing us Down, The Exausted School and I have just finished reading  A Different Kind of Teacher. The latter is a perfect description of John Gatto. His ideas and appreciation of what young people are capable of is an affirmation of what I have always believed.

Genius is an exceedingly common human trait..”

In A different kind of Teacher Gatto asks just how public are our public schools?

He writes;

I feel ashamed that so many of us can not imagine a better way to do things than locking children up all day in cells instead of letting them grow up knowing their families, mingling with the world, assuming real obligations, striving to be independent and self-reliant and free

He goes into great depths writing about what the true history of compulsory schooling actually is.  Do people know they have a choice? The hows and whys of  “public schooling” is an education in itself.

The oppressive influence of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and their determination to build an efficient industrial state, led them to a plan to systematize the rearing of the young.

“At the core of this social strategy was the removal of important decisions from the familial and individual control and their reassignment to the legion of specialists.”

Without personal command over time and without the rights to associate freely with others and to speak freely, life begins to lose its meaning.”

“.. important life choices are not the proper province of any professional establishment

Whole people resist being told what to do and so are natural enemies of schooling

Gatto encourages people to seek the truth, for themselves and their children. He asserts that schools are not designed to encourage independent thought, creative or scientific minds. Look at history and you can plainly see that the school system is not broken, it is functioning exactly as it was designed to. The real problem is that we have surpassed the old design and need a new model to overcome the society of mindless consumption and bankrupt morality that persists in the west today.

To be free you need to celebrate your own history, humble and tormented as it might be, and the history of your own parents and grandparents, howsoever that history be marked by scars and mistakes. It is the only history you will ever have; reject it and you reject yourself.”

Live free or you won’t really be alive at all.”

Originally published November 2009

Naomi Klein’s Thought Bubble: Ethical Oil?

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delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at