"NPR and PBS Frontline spent months digging into internal industry
documents and interviewing top former officials. We found that the
industry sold the public on an idea it knew wouldn't work — that the
majority of plastic could be, and would be, recycled — all while making
billions of dollars selling the world new plastic.
The industry's awareness that recycling wouldn't keep plastic out of
landfills and the environment dates to the program's earliest days, we
found. "There is serious doubt that [recycling plastic] can ever be made
viable on an economic basis," one industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech.
Yet the industry spent millions telling people to recycle, because, as
one former top industry insider told NPR, selling recycling sold
plastic, even if it wasn't true."
Via John Wehrle, who wrote:
"There’s an unfortunate situation where people with the power and
influence to change systems don’t want to (for lots of reasons) and many
of the people affected by those systems would like to feel they,
individually, have the power to change these systems even if they take
on unearned guilt in the process.
It’s a message in our media and stories; the plucky, seemingly ordinary
hero who changes the world by sheer stubbornness and determination and
vision. Except that kind of individual action has the worst possible
chance of success. We don’t like to admit it but individuals are pretty
much powerless to change the systems they live in. So why is that the
story we tell ourselves over and over?
One of the reasons is probably because people want to feel effective in
their world even when they aren’t. Another reason, an insidious one, is
that people who are focused on individual action instead of joint, group
action fritter away their actual opportunities to change systems. If you
can convince people to focus on their individuality and to never
compromise or coordinate then you have already defeated them. What’s
more, when they fail, as they most certainly will, they will blame
Neat trick, eh?
The responsibility for the systems destroying our fragile spaceship
Earth lies with the people who orchestrated them. If we coordinate and
work together rather than stubbornly going it alone we can alter these
systems. WE can change these systems. Not you. Not me. All of us. Which
requires that each of us get off our high horses and work together.
Community, not individuals, is where actual effectiveness can be found."
Thanks to Jennifer Freeman.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics