The Future Will Suck

 

This post is a part of Blog Action Day ’09.

Trashy People

I distinctly remember walking home from the grocery store with my girlfriend one day when I lived in LA and seeing a tall, lanky, tattooed gentlemen ahead of us chug an energy drink before cavalierly throwing the empty can into the street to his right without missing a beat.

My girlfriend and I were rattled to the core.

“Did you see that? Jesus.”

“I know, right? What year is it? He just threw it without even caring. As if there aren’t recycling bins on every corner.”

“Lame.”

“Yeah, real lame.”

That was our attitude, because we had been brought up on a stringent diet of “Give a hoot, dont pollute” and Captain Planet. People who don’t recycle or who build coal power plants or who litter are BAD. That’s just the way things are in the suburbs of the United States. Hell, even Texas, the last holdout in the litter wars of the 80′s and 90′s were eventually won over by the wildly popular “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign (George W. Bush even appropriated the term for political purposes later on; that’s a powerful anti-littering message!).

Smells Like Flowers

Knowing all this, you can imagine the response I had the first time I saw a 30-something guy toss a candy bar wrapper on the sidewalk while passing a flower shop here in Buenos Aires. The flower shop lady who was sitting not two feet from the wrapper glanced at it but made no move to pick it up; there were several other wrappers, along with discarded fliers, wadded up napkins and other torn and shredded clumps of who-knows-what already laying there, unnoticed.

Every night, street cleaners drive down the avenues of BA, picking up trash and making the sidewalks quite a bit more walkable. From around 1am until 5am, a group of very poor people called cartoneros come out and dig through all the collected trash bins, rummaging around for cardboard they can sell and throwing everything else back into the streets. At 6am the shopkeepers hose off the sidewalk in front of their shops so that their little portion of the world can be clean for a few hours, and all throughout the day people toss their spent cigarettes, half-eaten empanadas and shiny, crinkled candy bar wrappers on the ground.

I want to shake these people. “Don’t you see what you’re doing to your city? This is why everything is so dirty” But it wouldn’t matter, and only partially because I wouldn’t know how to say all that in Spanish. The main reason it wouldn’t work is because of a little something I (and most sociologists) like to called ‘Broken Window Theory.’

Breaking Windows

The Broken Window Theory goes like this: if there is a perfectly nice neighborhood with well-tended lawns, well-painted houses and well-behaved citizens, it only takes one broken window for the neighborhood to become a gang-ridden junkyard. Or more specifically, one broken window that no one fixes.

The idea is that people will walk by that broken window and assume, subconsciously or consciously, that this street must be ill-kept and therefore not worth taking care of. That one window leads to litter. The litter leads to slashed tires. The slashed tires lead to stolen lawn ornaments. The stolen lawn ornaments lead to burglaries. The burglaries lead to assaults. The assaults lead to murders.

And so on and so forth.

It’s a slow but steady progression, and it can take different shapes (Malcolm Gladwell shared an excellent example of this in his book ‘The Tipping Point,’ wherein the NYC government lowered the number of crimes in their city immensely just by painting over graffiti on the NYC subway cars every night). I know that the bad economic situation is largely to blame, but I can’t help but wonder if the giant broken window (read: filthiness) of BA is partially responsible for the recent influx of crime on its streets.

The Future Will Suck

Thinking on a grander scale, the degradation of a small environment can eventually lead to the abuse of our global environment. We didn’t pollute the Earth all at once; we started at very local levels and slowly built up. As cities got dirtier and dirtier, each of the smaller problems eventually combined to make the make ecological problems we face today.

What I propose is this: if you make a mess, clean it up. I know you’re busy, and I know it’s not always socially acceptable to clean up after yourself or others, but these problems are not going to fix themselves, and though we have big projects and plans on the horizon that will hopefully help to fix the larger problems related to the dirtying of the planet, the smaller problems will still exist unless we all start to take responsibility for ourselves, our actions and our cities.

It’s an amazing time to be alive and I firmly believe that within the next few dozen years we’ll experience a near-complete shift in how we power our cities, grow and distribute our food, and live our lives. Every piece of information in the world will be instantly available to anyone in the world, and we may even get those flying cars we’ve been waiting on.

But so what? The future will suck if the sidewalks are covered in trash.

40 comments

  1. I live in Tianjin, China. The local government here has take tremendous steps here to try to clean up the city, but then you get these rich buffoons driving around in their Hummers and BMWs just throwing rubbish out of their car windows while driving. Even in university, where people are supposedly more educated, they just throw their cigarette butts and ice block wrappers anywhere. A real pity.

    I do make an effort not to litter and will put rubbish in my pocket or bag until I come across a bin.

  2. I live in Tianjin, China. The local government here has take tremendous steps here to try to clean up the city, but then you get these rich buffoons driving around in their Hummers and BMWs just throwing rubbish out of their car windows while driving. Even in university, where people are supposedly more educated, they just throw their cigarette butts and ice block wrappers anywhere. A real pity.

    I do make an effort not to litter and will put rubbish in my pocket or bag until I come across a bin.

  3. I totally remember that LA guy. Weird. Gross. So the opposite in Seattle! I can’t believe how clean the streets are here! People seem to carry their trash (recycling) blocks just to find the nearest appropriate bin (so that can doesn’t get thrown away).

    Great call to action though, Colin. Didn’t they a have another example in one of Gladwell’s books about cleaning up a section of a city by focusing on something very low level and seemingly unrelated as trash. Maybe it’s just what you already brought up. Oy vey. My memory is not what it used to be! (I’m not nearly old enough to say that!)

  4. I totally remember that LA guy. Weird. Gross. So the opposite in Seattle! I can’t believe how clean the streets are here! People seem to carry their trash (recycling) blocks just to find the nearest appropriate bin (so that can doesn’t get thrown away).

    Great call to action though, Colin. Didn’t they a have another example in one of Gladwell’s books about cleaning up a section of a city by focusing on something very low level and seemingly unrelated as trash. Maybe it’s just what you already brought up. Oy vey. My memory is not what it used to be! (I’m not nearly old enough to say that!)

  5. Awesome post, Colin! I couldn’t agree more with you. I live in West Harlem, NYC and I gotta tell you.. it blows my mind every time I see someone hurl their garbage on the ground. There are literally bins EVERY corner and I just don’t get it. Why do people insist on dirtying up their own neighborhoods? It’s like this in most places, especially large cities like NYC or BA. I am definitely one of the people who say something to people. Most of the time it works! I think people listen because they assume I might be a bit crazy for acting like hall monitor on the streets of Harlem but usually it does work. Great post… hopefully people who read it will think twice next time they have trash in their hands with a block to go before another bin or the next time they see someone causally litter like it’s no big deal.
    Keep up the good work, Colin!

  6. Awesome post, Colin! I couldn’t agree more with you. I live in West Harlem, NYC and I gotta tell you.. it blows my mind every time I see someone hurl their garbage on the ground. There are literally bins EVERY corner and I just don’t get it. Why do people insist on dirtying up their own neighborhoods? It’s like this in most places, especially large cities like NYC or BA. I am definitely one of the people who say something to people. Most of the time it works! I think people listen because they assume I might be a bit crazy for acting like hall monitor on the streets of Harlem but usually it does work. Great post… hopefully people who read it will think twice next time they have trash in their hands with a block to go before another bin or the next time they see someone causally litter like it’s no big deal.
    Keep up the good work, Colin!

  7. The future will suck if we keep allowing the type of behavior you are describing to continue. It’s not just in the states, its a global issue.

    I love watching Vanguard on Current TV – to get a perspective of the world that I haven’t seen yet. Only after watching the scenes on gangs, impoverished cultures and dirty streets – I learn that most of the world is generally the same. Self (and possibly family) first, everything else is a distant second. The environment and the cleanliness with which humans need to survive and perform is in danger and life will sure suck with the sidewalks covered in trash. Great post man.

  8. The future will suck if we keep allowing the type of behavior you are describing to continue. It’s not just in the states, its a global issue.

    I love watching Vanguard on Current TV – to get a perspective of the world that I haven’t seen yet. Only after watching the scenes on gangs, impoverished cultures and dirty streets – I learn that most of the world is generally the same. Self (and possibly family) first, everything else is a distant second. The environment and the cleanliness with which humans need to survive and perform is in danger and life will sure suck with the sidewalks covered in trash. Great post man.

  9. “we’ll experience a near-complete shift in how we power our cities, grow and distribute our food, and live our lives. Every piece of information in the world will be instantly available to anyone in the world, and we may even get those flying cars we’ve been waiting on.”

    I dreamt this last night. Not even kidding.

    I admire your consciousness and understanding of how we all, it all, the world at large is interconnected. I truelly believe the system will break down, it will be horrible, people will get hurt… But in the end it will drive change… people such as yourself will be the best suited to usher in a new mentality… a new way of life. Keep it up, enjoyed the post!

  10. “we’ll experience a near-complete shift in how we power our cities, grow and distribute our food, and live our lives. Every piece of information in the world will be instantly available to anyone in the world, and we may even get those flying cars we’ve been waiting on.”

    I dreamt this last night. Not even kidding.

    I admire your consciousness and understanding of how we all, it all, the world at large is interconnected. I truelly believe the system will break down, it will be horrible, people will get hurt… But in the end it will drive change… people such as yourself will be the best suited to usher in a new mentality… a new way of life. Keep it up, enjoyed the post!

  11. I really feel bad for people who have to clean the streets everywhere, but more especially in places (mostly in emerging economies) where they literally have to hand pick and rub all those sticky wet cardboard pieces that were washed down from the sidewalks and stuck there so that we have a little nicer place to walk on.

    I don’t know how can some people justify looking at these people doing their jobs.

    I really don’t know but I have seen many people with the “whatever” attitudes that don’t really care about their behaviors. I do not think about our future at all.

    I too enjoyed the post.. and can’t really stop myself from getting very emotional about it. =(

  12. I really feel bad for people who have to clean the streets everywhere, but more especially in places (mostly in emerging economies) where they literally have to hand pick and rub all those sticky wet cardboard pieces that were washed down from the sidewalks and stuck there so that we have a little nicer place to walk on.

    I don’t know how can some people justify looking at these people doing their jobs.

    I really don’t know but I have seen many people with the “whatever” attitudes that don’t really care about their behaviors. I do not think about our future at all.

    I too enjoyed the post.. and can’t really stop myself from getting very emotional about it. =(

  13. In the last few years of travel, I’ve been really saddened to see the attitude of “the earth is my garbage can” from Asia to South America. It’s tragic to see a mother teach her infant how to throw the empty bag of chips and soda out the window into a beautiful mountain landscape. The irony, is that the same mother will turn to us and say, “Isn’t our landscape and country beautiful?” – not realizing that she just contributed to spoiling it for future generations.

    For a while, I thought that this attitude was a reflection of the level of education of the person. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the well-educated and wealthy with the same disregard to the environment. It’s a matter of the right type of education and it needs to start early.

    Like you, I’m optimistic about the possibilities of green energy and new ideas. But, we need to focus on teaching basic respect and environmental awareness to the young.

  14. In the last few years of travel, I’ve been really saddened to see the attitude of “the earth is my garbage can” from Asia to South America. It’s tragic to see a mother teach her infant how to throw the empty bag of chips and soda out the window into a beautiful mountain landscape. The irony, is that the same mother will turn to us and say, “Isn’t our landscape and country beautiful?” – not realizing that she just contributed to spoiling it for future generations.

    For a while, I thought that this attitude was a reflection of the level of education of the person. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the well-educated and wealthy with the same disregard to the environment. It’s a matter of the right type of education and it needs to start early.

    Like you, I’m optimistic about the possibilities of green energy and new ideas. But, we need to focus on teaching basic respect and environmental awareness to the young.

  15. I’m from Seattle and I must say the Pacific NW loves to be clean and recycle. We even sell the elephant poo at the Zoo…lots of fast food places have bio degradable silverware made out of corn products (kind of gets melty in soup)…but I digress.
    I only takes one person to set an example…to fix that broken pane of glass.
    Take Care,
    Jill

    Jill’s current post: Romper Bomper Stomper Boo.

  16. I’m from Seattle and I must say the Pacific NW loves to be clean and recycle. We even sell the elephant poo at the Zoo…lots of fast food places have bio degradable silverware made out of corn products (kind of gets melty in soup)…but I digress.
    I only takes one person to set an example…to fix that broken pane of glass.
    Take Care,
    Jill

    Jill’s current post: Romper Bomper Stomper Boo.

  17. I can’t imaging throwing trash into the street like that. I’d feel disgusting doing it. I agree about if you make a mess, clean it up.

    It interesting to read how things are done in other parts of the world, though.

  18. I can’t imaging throwing trash into the street like that. I’d feel disgusting doing it. I agree about if you make a mess, clean it up.

    It interesting to read how things are done in other parts of the world, though.

  19. i wrote out this great cleaning up after yourself when having roommates analogy… but since i forgot that my email addy was *required* it all dissappeared

    so.. just imagineer it

  20. i wrote out this great cleaning up after yourself when having roommates analogy… but since i forgot that my email addy was *required* it all dissappeared

    so.. just imagineer it

  21. So important! Thanks for writing this Colin. This is exactly why I think it’s so damn important for people to travel. Especially those from the cleaner more green areas. We live in a relatively nice clean bubble in the US. Australia is ridiculously clean. When you travel through “2nd, 3rd” world countries you really start to understanding the future plight of the planet. In India for example…they shit on the beaches and throw their trash everywhere…it just sits in piles…just like “slum dog millionaire.” The question becomes how do we change this?

  22. So important! Thanks for writing this Colin. This is exactly why I think it’s so damn important for people to travel. Especially those from the cleaner more green areas. We live in a relatively nice clean bubble in the US. Australia is ridiculously clean. When you travel through “2nd, 3rd” world countries you really start to understanding the future plight of the planet. In India for example…they shit on the beaches and throw their trash everywhere…it just sits in piles…just like “slum dog millionaire.” The question becomes how do we change this?

  23. Pingback: Footprints, Imagination, and the Art of Sustainability

  24. I live in Xi’an, China and I see that type of littering every day. And every day I have the same knee-jerk response you do. I just wish my Chinese was good enough to say, “Hey! Pick up your trash and throw it away. Are you really so lazy you can’t walk 10 feet to the nearest trash can?” And yes, we do have those people that dig through the garbage cans and spread the trash every where. As annoying, if not more, than the people who just drop their trash everywhere. Some days it just drives me crazy. Do they just not care about spreading their garbage everywhere or are they really that ignorant about the huge negative impact they have on our planet?

  25. I live in Xi’an, China and I see that type of littering every day. And every day I have the same knee-jerk response you do. I just wish my Chinese was good enough to say, “Hey! Pick up your trash and throw it away. Are you really so lazy you can’t walk 10 feet to the nearest trash can?” And yes, we do have those people that dig through the garbage cans and spread the trash every where. As annoying, if not more, than the people who just drop their trash everywhere. Some days it just drives me crazy. Do they just not care about spreading their garbage everywhere or are they really that ignorant about the huge negative impact they have on our planet?

  26. There is a socialization process required to educate citizens about how to behave. In Canada and the US, it started about two decades about with anti-garbage and anti-smoking advertisements.

    In countries like Japan, the government owns a 50% stake in Japan Tobacco, so they are decades behind in anti-smoking policies.They just started a few years ago with anti-garbage ads.

    I think most countries will have to go through that process and it will take decades. Changing adults is hopeless, so the only way is to reach children.

    I still remember when I was in school and was first told about global warming, littering, smoking,etc. Those messages worked and it was the children who convinced their parents to change.

    I am hopeful for the future, we just have to invest in children. You have to be rich to care about the environment, when we take care of poverty and inequality, then these issues will start to solve themselves.

  27. There is a socialization process required to educate citizens about how to behave. In Canada and the US, it started about two decades about with anti-garbage and anti-smoking advertisements.

    In countries like Japan, the government owns a 50% stake in Japan Tobacco, so they are decades behind in anti-smoking policies.They just started a few years ago with anti-garbage ads.

    I think most countries will have to go through that process and it will take decades. Changing adults is hopeless, so the only way is to reach children.

    I still remember when I was in school and was first told about global warming, littering, smoking,etc. Those messages worked and it was the children who convinced their parents to change.

    I am hopeful for the future, we just have to invest in children. You have to be rich to care about the environment, when we take care of poverty and inequality, then these issues will start to solve themselves.

  28. “‘Give a hoot, don’t pollute’ ”
    - HAHAHA funniest thing i’ve read all day.

    man. candy wrapper thirty year old loser. best thing ever is just pick it up, go up to him and say, “oi. you dropped this. here. take my number. just give me a call any time you want me to pick up your trash, no problem”.

    ah. broken windows. i used to do street art. not graffitti but installation type street art with a view to inspiring people and improving their day. all too familiar with broken window theory :)

    and i agree with it. def. but just thought about applying it to personal dev. each negative thought contributing to an overall decline in well-being leading to destructive selfish limitation thinking – the kind that makes you throw cans on the street and fvck up our planet.

    awwwwsomeness.

    really like your site mate. solid design and great read.

    keep well and in touch
    alex – unleash reality

  29. “‘Give a hoot, don’t pollute’ ”
    - HAHAHA funniest thing i’ve read all day.

    man. candy wrapper thirty year old loser. best thing ever is just pick it up, go up to him and say, “oi. you dropped this. here. take my number. just give me a call any time you want me to pick up your trash, no problem”.

    ah. broken windows. i used to do street art. not graffitti but installation type street art with a view to inspiring people and improving their day. all too familiar with broken window theory :)

    and i agree with it. def. but just thought about applying it to personal dev. each negative thought contributing to an overall decline in well-being leading to destructive selfish limitation thinking – the kind that makes you throw cans on the street and fvck up our planet.

    awwwwsomeness.

    really like your site mate. solid design and great read.

    keep well and in touch
    alex – unleash reality

  30. @Gordie: Every little bit counts, even when those buffoons seem to be everywhere, no matter the country.

    @Kristin: Yeah, Seattle seemed to be doing very well in terms of keeping things clean. There’s a gal here in BA who’s from Toronto that assures me that the same is true in her home city. There are so great examples out there, and now the rest just need to fall into step behind them!

    @Grant: Thanks a lot, Grant! Glad to hear that you’re helping to keep the streets clean! It’s true that all it usually takes is a little social pressure to get people to be more aware of what they’re doing. In general I don’t think they’re even actively thinking ‘time to throw this on the ground,’ the problem is that they AREN’T thinking and that’s why it’s so difficult to stop…it’s a habit.

    @Greg: Thanks Greg! I haven’t seen that particular show, but I’ll have to check it out. It’s true that people do have other concerns that come first before the environment. Think of it like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, except in this case people care about self first, them family, and all the way at the top comes environment. So many people are impoverished or stuck in situations they can’t stand that they’ll never make it up to that top rung and start really caring. We need to be solving these other issues in tandem with the environmental issue, otherwise none of them will be taken care of fully.

    @Meandering Bohemian: Thanks! Sounds very ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the way you describe it, but it’s true that all it takes is a little concentrated pressure from the bottom to radically shift the way we live. If everyone is conscious of this, we’ll be more likely to hit the right point at the right time.

    @Ton: Yes, it’s very very sad to see these kinds of things. Just to put yourself in their place mentally kind of brings it home. This is 2009…we should have solved these problems by now! Maybe next year…?

    @Audrey: Definitely true, these attitudes do start early. In the US most people at least know that it’s wrong (even if they still litter and pollute like crazy…maybe the guilt will make them stop eventually), but in many places it’s taken in with the mother’s milk, as they say, and that makes the habits very hard to break.

    @Jill: Three cheers for elephant poo! But seriously, it is important to fix that pane of glass, and to continue fixing it when it’s broken. Then maybe one day we can stop because it won’t get broken anymore.

    @Nate: Yeah, a little self-control would go a long way almost everywhere in the world, I think.

    @Brian: So sorry, Brian! I imagineer it was a lovely piece of epic poetry (in blog response form).

    @Amber: Yeesh, yeah, it is definitely worse in some place than others. Unfortunately it would seem that in the places where it is the worse, there is also the most economic disparity; a few making a lot of money and being well educated, while most are poor, barely surviving and unable to attain a decent level of education. I think this is a big part of the problem, because how do you build up the strength of an area’s ecological policy when there is not a strong economic foundation upon which to build it, and few educated people to put it together? This is a problem our generation is going to have to solve, because clearly the solutions of the past simply aren’t working.

    @Graham: Drives me crazy. At the same time, I do realize that the people who are digging through the trash are doing it for a reason; they’re starving. I can imagine that if I was starving I wouldn’t put too much effort into cleaning up after myself…wouldn’t want to waste the energy that I could spend on trying to make enough money to feed myself and my family. This is why I say I think both economic and ecological problems will have to be solved in tandem if we really want to achieve either one. Hopefully someday they won’t have to do what they’re doing anymore.

    @John: You raise a really good point in saying that we are going to have to be the ones to change things since we’ve been hearing about it for a lot longer than our parents. Further, we will be (and in some cases, already are) the people with the wealth and the power in the near-future, so it will be up to us to be responsible and do what we can to instigate positive change.

    @Alex: Haha, I imagine I wouldn’t make too many friends doing as you suggest, but it probably would be effective (now if I can only learn to say it in Spanish…). Thanks for the kind words, and I appreciate your contribution to the conversation!

    Thanks everyone for commenting! You guys always flesh out the posts a whole lot more than I could do on my own, and for that I’m very thankful.

  31. @Gordie: Every little bit counts, even when those buffoons seem to be everywhere, no matter the country.

    @Kristin: Yeah, Seattle seemed to be doing very well in terms of keeping things clean. There’s a gal here in BA who’s from Toronto that assures me that the same is true in her home city. There are so great examples out there, and now the rest just need to fall into step behind them!

    @Grant: Thanks a lot, Grant! Glad to hear that you’re helping to keep the streets clean! It’s true that all it usually takes is a little social pressure to get people to be more aware of what they’re doing. In general I don’t think they’re even actively thinking ‘time to throw this on the ground,’ the problem is that they AREN’T thinking and that’s why it’s so difficult to stop…it’s a habit.

    @Greg: Thanks Greg! I haven’t seen that particular show, but I’ll have to check it out. It’s true that people do have other concerns that come first before the environment. Think of it like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, except in this case people care about self first, them family, and all the way at the top comes environment. So many people are impoverished or stuck in situations they can’t stand that they’ll never make it up to that top rung and start really caring. We need to be solving these other issues in tandem with the environmental issue, otherwise none of them will be taken care of fully.

    @Meandering Bohemian: Thanks! Sounds very ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the way you describe it, but it’s true that all it takes is a little concentrated pressure from the bottom to radically shift the way we live. If everyone is conscious of this, we’ll be more likely to hit the right point at the right time.

    @Ton: Yes, it’s very very sad to see these kinds of things. Just to put yourself in their place mentally kind of brings it home. This is 2009…we should have solved these problems by now! Maybe next year…?

    @Audrey: Definitely true, these attitudes do start early. In the US most people at least know that it’s wrong (even if they still litter and pollute like crazy…maybe the guilt will make them stop eventually), but in many places it’s taken in with the mother’s milk, as they say, and that makes the habits very hard to break.

    @Jill: Three cheers for elephant poo! But seriously, it is important to fix that pane of glass, and to continue fixing it when it’s broken. Then maybe one day we can stop because it won’t get broken anymore.

    @Nate: Yeah, a little self-control would go a long way almost everywhere in the world, I think.

    @Brian: So sorry, Brian! I imagineer it was a lovely piece of epic poetry (in blog response form).

    @Amber: Yeesh, yeah, it is definitely worse in some place than others. Unfortunately it would seem that in the places where it is the worse, there is also the most economic disparity; a few making a lot of money and being well educated, while most are poor, barely surviving and unable to attain a decent level of education. I think this is a big part of the problem, because how do you build up the strength of an area’s ecological policy when there is not a strong economic foundation upon which to build it, and few educated people to put it together? This is a problem our generation is going to have to solve, because clearly the solutions of the past simply aren’t working.

    @Graham: Drives me crazy. At the same time, I do realize that the people who are digging through the trash are doing it for a reason; they’re starving. I can imagine that if I was starving I wouldn’t put too much effort into cleaning up after myself…wouldn’t want to waste the energy that I could spend on trying to make enough money to feed myself and my family. This is why I say I think both economic and ecological problems will have to be solved in tandem if we really want to achieve either one. Hopefully someday they won’t have to do what they’re doing anymore.

    @John: You raise a really good point in saying that we are going to have to be the ones to change things since we’ve been hearing about it for a lot longer than our parents. Further, we will be (and in some cases, already are) the people with the wealth and the power in the near-future, so it will be up to us to be responsible and do what we can to instigate positive change.

    @Alex: Haha, I imagine I wouldn’t make too many friends doing as you suggest, but it probably would be effective (now if I can only learn to say it in Spanish…). Thanks for the kind words, and I appreciate your contribution to the conversation!

    Thanks everyone for commenting! You guys always flesh out the posts a whole lot more than I could do on my own, and for that I’m very thankful.

  32. I feel the same way when I see people smoking. I mean, a long time ago we didn’t understand the damage smoking could do and so you could forgive a person for making that life choice. Now we know. We also now understand what our actions are doing to the environment. We no longer have an excuse to be irresponsible.

  33. I feel the same way when I see people smoking. I mean, a long time ago we didn’t understand the damage smoking could do and so you could forgive a person for making that life choice. Now we know. We also now understand what our actions are doing to the environment. We no longer have an excuse to be irresponsible.

  34. Wow, you really hit on some amazing points here that I only think…and don’t say. :) Between pollution, an over-stressed nation, disease, and more, what is next? Kinda scary. But I always have hope. My only fear is that “Mother Earth” is going to shed some of the “pollutants” (um…human beings) in the process.

    Great post!
    Dayne

  35. Wow, you really hit on some amazing points here that I only think…and don’t say. :) Between pollution, an over-stressed nation, disease, and more, what is next? Kinda scary. But I always have hope. My only fear is that “Mother Earth” is going to shed some of the “pollutants” (um…human beings) in the process.

    Great post!
    Dayne

  36. Hi Colin. My first visit to your site here, and to be honest the title of this post had me ready to defend the future and how we can create one that doesn’t suck…needless to say after reading the post, I agree with you 100%. This world will suck (more than just environmentally) unless we actually do something about it! If we can each make an effort to take care of our own communities (socially, environmentally, structurally, etc.) we can turn this ship around…

    You have a new follower, I am looking forward to checking out the rest of what you have to say!

    Thanks for writing.

    ~Ross

  37. Hi Colin. My first visit to your site here, and to be honest the title of this post had me ready to defend the future and how we can create one that doesn’t suck…needless to say after reading the post, I agree with you 100%. This world will suck (more than just environmentally) unless we actually do something about it! If we can each make an effort to take care of our own communities (socially, environmentally, structurally, etc.) we can turn this ship around…

    You have a new follower, I am looking forward to checking out the rest of what you have to say!

    Thanks for writing.

    ~Ross

  38. I love it. Thanks for your perspectives. Used to do ecological design, now I blog. Your perspectives are right on, brother. You might just have me hooked. Keep it coming. Pura vida from Costa Rica!

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