Archive for December, 2008

What a waste

A load of rubbish by Tom:

It’s great being back in the US, spending time with the SF office. The president-elect promises jobs and hope, as Nick so neatly points out in the previous post.

One thing’s now clear: for better or worse, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be going back to business as usual in the US. Obama’s symbiotic rescue package includes: massive efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and infrastructure; greening vehicles; moving to renewable energy production; and the creation of a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. Each with the creation of green jobs at its heart.

I have my own, comparatively miniscule, addition to the list to help the US out of recession: Reducing the amount of waste produced. Every meal here comes with an additional 55 wrappers, 27 bits of plastic and 7 items of no practical use that must be disposed of. Even if you pull a canned drink straight from an iceberg, it seems you will be given a (plastic) glass, with 342,323 pieces of ice in it and the fruit of three lemon trees. And it’s not just eating out… there is packaging everywhere.

Please don’t take this personally, my fellow Americans, I love your country so much I’m considering moving here, but the amount of unnecessary waste shocks me.

I’m sure there is some logic in sending dollars to packaging companies, ice-makers and waste removal companies, thereby helping stimulate the economy. But my sense is that if the US reduced its waste, the net benefit on the economy would be positive; less packaging & lower energy costs therefore lowering company expenditure and cleanup operation costs; resulting in more dollars towards schemes that prevent, refine and reduce. Or are we in a unique period where we need to create environmental problems for new jobs to solve?

December 18, 2008 at 2:02 am Leave a comment

Where to Go When Money Runs Out

Penned by Nick

We’ve seen a flurry of negative earnings reports and resultant layoffs in the past months–and unfortunately things appear poised to only get worse. Complicating the issue for the unemployed are State’s financial losses on the investments that are being doubly-hammered by the high unemployment, leaving unemployment funds in short supply.

As someone who works in the labor markets, this is a disturbing fact. We’ve seen downturns before, but rarely have they been exacerbated by such a fundamental change in the financial markets–to the point that “liquidity” seems to be drying up everywhere: financial institutions, employees, and fall-out funds.

The one bright spot on the horizon is the President-Elect’s plan to put 2.5 million people back to work, largely through the creation of green jobs. It’s an ambitious plan, but one that seeks–rationally–to undo the ill’s that plague our society: dependence on foreign oil, increasing energy demands, and a need to put people back to work. The next step, then, would be to connect these jobs (and potentially their taxes) to a “rainy day” fund for future unemployed workers, so that we don’t see bread lines again…

December 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm 1 comment


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