There are few things to cover today that I have been meaning to talk about!
I recently read this blog on the New York Times website about President Obama’s recent speech to the National Academy of Sciences.
The author of the blog entry makes an interesting point that Obama is encouraging creativity, over consumerism. I think that is an especially important perspective to take on a lot of our problems. People are deathly afraid of changing their lifestyle, but if framed in the light that they can creatively contribute to society, consuming less can make sense while not damaging our very high standard of living.
Which brings me to the Bigger Better Bottle Bill in New York State. (It is almost a reality! It recently passed in Albany.) This bill has been bouncing around for years, and has never had the right amount of momentum to get passed, which is a shame because the Returnable Container Act that is in place is over 25 years old. The update to the Act would allow more types of beverage containers to be redeemed for 5 cents, or more like in Michigan where it is 10 cents.
The redemption rate hovers above 70% in New York state, whereas in Michigan it is 95% or higher. Note that this is not the same as recycling rate, just the redemption of beverage containers that have a deposit on them. (For more info on how deposits work, check out http://www.bottlebill.org/. Also check out a piece I posted earlier on recycling.)
In 1982 when the Returnable Container Act was passed, the majority of beverages were sodas and beer (both being carbonated). Since then, the types of beverages sold have grown exponentially to include juices, sports drinks, and water.
Going back to what President Obama said, we could creatively pass policy that will promote consuming less. We could be actively reforming old and outdated policy that no longer is adequate or effective for today’s society.
While I agree that young people should be encouraged “to be makers of things, no just consumers of things,” I think this motto can be applied much more widely than just in the sciences. Fresh, creative thinking and innovation should be driving forces in every field!
Incubus – Warning
Image credit: Patricia Pooladi, National Academy of Sciences