The website Good is usually pretty darn, well, great, honestly.
Every morning I wake up to a dozen mass-media emails and theirs is by far the best and most motivating day after day. However. lately I’ve struggled to understand how the Good folks define “good”.
Good is is their lead-in to every section (education. culture. design. et.) and to every story; log on today and you’ll be wondering how good it is that “60 Percent of Teenagers in America Now Support Torture?” Well I suppose it’s better than 70 Percent?!
What is Good?
This ridiculous story aside (it came to my attention far after I developed a disdain for my latest Good emails and thus is hardly the crux of my argument and is merely a shameless attention grabber), Good is now pushing products that are anything BUT good.
Case in point: one recent email blast suggested I log onto Abe’s Market – an organic, health conscious webstore – to buy PVC placemats.
Yup, the same stuff that we’ve been avoiding in water bottles and pacifiers and fake leather couches and raincoats and just about everything on earth that can be/is coated in super shininess. So the thing here, and the thing that web editor Andrew Price so obviously was smitten with, is that these deathly placemats are made from recycled billboards.
Apparently a single old billboard makes for to up to 100 lbs of plastic trash in the landfill. So sure, it sounds like a good idea to reuse/reduce/recycle this material – or does it?
In the field in the field of architecture, we come across many parts and pieces of buildings that we’d love to re-purpose for budgetary or cool-factor reasons. A current project of mine involves the rehabbing of an existing circa 1920’s shell and 1970’s addition, both of which, while vacant occupancy-wise, contain treasures like 12′ tall cobalt blue sliding barn doors and more glass block than you can shake a stick at. Sadly, and predictably, these things are riddled with good ol’ asbestos. You know that seven letter word from the omnipresent list of harmful-to-your-health things to stay away from. Same goes for PVC.
Reduce, Reuse, Get Sick
So while the $4/placemat price tag sounds delightful and competitively priced with the likes of Target, for instance, and the anticipation of potentially getting a set of Calvin Klein underwear models for your breakfast table (it’s a mystery after all – you may get lucky, or you may end up with three gray mats and half of a 1994 cell phone ad) may lessen the blow of the expensive shipping methods (If you can find $75 worth of worth-it goods at Abe’s to qualify for free shipping please let me know!), you’ll now have to accept that the five-second-rule is a dangerous game of Russian Roulette.
No way would I eat off a grungy piece of plastic-vinyl-yuckiness that has been absorbing environmental toxins 30′ in the air for months at a time. Would you?
On the flip side of this argument: If you’re less concerned about your future, I suppose you could always find these rejected relics of highway heaven on your own and stash away the cash you’ll be saving for your inevitable health bills. I’m sure you’ll end up with fantastic stories of scaling buildings; which is decidedly more exciting than waiting for a box-o-death to arrive on your doorstep.
Personal preferences for mystery and adventure aside, how is re-introducing PVC into our lives a good thing, Good?
Now what’s for Dinner?
On a less horrifying, somewhat funny to me, maybe even slightly good on a slow news day, the new President of Bolivia has declared that nature now has human rights. Nevermind that a HUGE percentage of humans on earth do not have basic human rights, now there are laws ensuring plants get fresh water (I hope they can drink from one of those ultra-cool purifying Lifestraws by Vestergaard Frandsen)?
According to the article, the new rules on the book now “make humans equal to all other living things and establishes 11 new rights for nature, including the right to life, the right to pure water and clean air, and the right to not have cellular structure genetically modified”. So if humans are now equal to asparagus, does that mean Bolivia is the new frontier for cannibalism? Or are they now anti-vegetarian? Perhaps they are one in the same?
I forsee a problem where 90% of the country ends up in Jail for trampling on grass and munching carrots. I wonder what percentage of the Bolivian teenage population supports torture? I suppose we’ll find out when images of giddy teenagers rolling in fields of protesting dandelions emerge in the global media.
Oh! How the world turns!