Hey Garbæge Folks 🚮
Something that a certain segment of society asks me often is: “How green is ganja?”
There is almost no straight answer to this, but I found the one person who could help guide our search. This week on WNWN, Nature N8 speaks with Dr. Jeff Chen, director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative.
Before we blaze it up——
Here’s Some Trash:
[The] restaurant where you used to eat food off plates using metal utensils now sells you a to-go bag full of individually wrapped dishes. […] In the San Francisco Bay Area, you’re not even allowed to bring your reusable shopping bags to the grocery store anymore, lest you bring the virus from your home to the checkout counter. In early March, Starbucks stopped filling customers’ reusable cups for the same reason, before shuttering stores altogether.
As N8 had predicted at the start of the pandemic, publications have begun to worry about the plastic impact of a global plague. Companies are resorting to single-use plastic for its very low risk of virus transmission. Restaurants and chains are pulling back their re-use options.
In the US, lobbyists are blocking legislation that limit single-use plastics, or writing new legislation to require single-use plastics.
THE N8 TAKE:
Ethical consumption remains impossible under capitalism. I say this partially as a leftist meme-joke, but also to remind you, dear reader, that we have not made fundamental changes to our industrial production or consumption. The plants and factories and farms are still there, clamoring to reopen. Online shops still promise to sell us the same ol’ thing. The people most vulnerable to disasters are still, vulnerable.
Even though the world may feel like it has changed, in terms of macro-environmental impacts, things remain the same.
Yes, single-use plastics will increase in a period of extreme (and valid) concern over public-health. However, single-use plastics never represented the largest source of environmental impacts. The vast majority of environmental destruction comes from raw material extraction.
The food you eat does more harm to the environment than the packaging it came in.
This is not to say: don’t worry about plastic. Rather, this is to nudge us to think about the largest possible picture. We need Green New Deals! We need climate strikes, we need mutual aid, and to organize ourselves into effective coalitions. Flippantly referring to humans as the virus or lamenting the amount of PPE and plastic masks we’re using (to save lives, I might add) is not the solution, nor an effective place to direct our energy. It’s like Rose buying carbon offsets for Jack—half submerged in water—while the Titanic sinks rapidly in the background.
On top of this, with oil prices crashing, plastics will be here to stay. (Gasoline might be another story, though.) ((Either way, Bloomberg asked: “is oil cheap enough for climate activists to buy it?” It’s a pretty interesting article!))
The so called “negative oil prices” won’t necessarily inflict enough damage to kick off industrial transformation. If anything, this economic harm may cause mass panic as citizens demand governments to “do something,” all the while having no alternatives to look to.
We can come up with these alternatives, though. We keep imagining new futures, thinking up new ways of sustaining ourselves. Now is the best time to strengthen our communities and connections. The old frameworks pre-COVID will not build richer lives post-COVID. And the new frameworks won’t be decided by an individual, but will emerge: Green New Deals and “doughnut economics” are a good place to start.
Nature N8 sits down with Dr. Jeff Chen, a doctor and entrepreneur who specializes in cannabis research and commercialization. We’ve heard that hemp can strengthen concrete, be used in automotive manufacturing, or even make super batteries—but are these just pipes dreams?
So, maybe y’all were wondering this whole time: “N8, what does weed have to do with plastics??” Well, boys and girls and children beyond the binary, here’s your answer. N8 was quoted in this article about turning cannabis packaging into “clean” fuel!
The commercial focus on what's called chemical recycling — breaking hard-to-recycle plastic down to the molecular level — comes as plastic waste is at an all-time high. While it may seem like an environmental win at first, critics say it's not so simple.
"It's sort of like the-lesser-of-two-evils environmentalism," said [Nature Naynard].
The following is another good roundup of people, who talk about the environmental impact of cannabis.
Growers are a traditional bunch, but more and more cannabis consumers should demand sustainable products as the planet heats up. Outdoor growing may become more appealing as communities become more educated about cannabis and the environmental implications of indoor growing become clearer.
Finally, just so N8 doesn’t seem like a conspiracist waving his hands about COVID, have this Twitter thread from a great climate scientist on the pandemic’s climate impacts.
Behind the Bin:
This week’s episode was made possible by the generous support of Dr. Jeff’s shed.
Keep an ear out for other LA interviews coming out soon!
Traveling through town was all thanks to Gabe, N8’s best friend, who drove us around. They had food in Downtown LA! (Don’t look at our cups.)
Space of Meme!
That’s it for this issue, folks!
See you next time, bye-bye!
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