ppt lecture

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Tuesday April 16- A full class

Hi Everyone:

This is just to alert you that we will be having a very full and tight class schedule this coming Tuesday.   Arrive on time and be prepared to stay until 2:05.  The program for the class is as follows:

1. General remarks on presenting in groups at the Macaulay conference.

2.  Guest speaker: We are honored to have Jonathan Krones, a PhD student from MIT, here to discuss the concept of urban metabolism and how it relates to his research.  Give him your full attention and ask questions.

3.  Collaborative Learning Contributions –

Lawrence – the Right to the City

Kelly – Green Accounting

Richard – Plastic bags

This will lead into my discussion of plastics and environmental justice.  I will be calling on Group 2 members at random during this discussion, although I encourage everyone, as usual, to participate.

Let me know if you have questions.



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What to do with plastics other than one and two?

While New York City collects recyclable plastics marked 1 & 2, plastics with different classifications tend not to be collected. The article on ‘Extended Plastics Responsibility’ mentions that some cities (including San Francisco) collect all plastics, a process of recycling which is very much a feasible notion. If New York decided to begin collecting the other types of plastics, how do you believe they should go about the collection, and eventual disposal of these materials? What laws or initiatives could the city enact to make this a reality?


Rewriting the rules of Environmental Racism

Pellow’s “Ch.4: The Global Village Dump” points out how prevalent and dominant environmental racism can be, happening on local, national, and global levels. Poor waste management techniques encourage the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that contributes even more to the problem. As MacBride’s “Ch.5: Extended Plastics Responsibility” says, “the handling of modern discards frequently entail the slow or rapid release of uncertain risks to health and ecosystems at multiple points on local and global scales.” The waste generated by cities might be out of sight and out of mind to many, but someone forgotten eventually reaps the negative costs. In terms of New York City, what can the city government do to eliminate this “out of side, out of mind” mentality within New Yorkers? Unfortunately, our waste does not and will not magically disappear. Are there other waste management techniques that can be more suitable? How can we “rewrite those rules” of environmental racism?

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Where do we send the garbage?

On a national level, certain cities and towns have been specialized to process, incinerate, reclaim, and recycle waste that is both local to the area and often sent from other states. This allows for a larger and more centralized operation but increases pollution from the movement of the waste. The international level is pretty similar in these regards, garbage is shipped to poorer countries en masse as if swept under the carpet of the planet. The people of these countries are tasked with tedious and hazardous task of sorting and reclaiming whatever they can before incinerating the rest. Do you think that countries or states have a moral obligation to deal with their own waste or is the current model of collecting and centralizing the waste worth improving upon?


Too Much Garbage

The world is generating more and more garbage than ever before. This is even more true for the United States. As Pellows stated, the United States accounts for 19 percent of all the world’s garbage while only having 5 percent of the world’s population. This means that the United States is producing much more garbage than the rest of the world. Since the United States is a first world country, they also produce more than third world countries. Most of the waste is sent off to these places that produce less waste. Many denser cities such as New York City send off their garbage to other locations. Should this be the current method of waste disposal? Do you think that countries should create a better alternative to shipping their garbage to other places? Do you think waste disposal is a serious enough problem that needs our current attention? Or can we put it off for a couple of years doing what we already do?


Week 10: Environmental Justice; Plastics in NYC

What’s due:  Annotated Bibliography

Participatory challenge:  Identify and photograph a neighborhood in NYC impacted by industrial facilities, evidence of plastic pollution, or another visual closely related  to this week’s assigned readings.

Click to show required readings
Pellow, David Naguib. “Ch.4: The Global Village Dump,” in Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice. MIT Press, 2007. 73-96. e-reserves

MacBride, Samantha. “Ch. 5: Extended  Plastics Responsibility” in Recycling Reconsidered: the Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States. MIT Press 2012. 174-215 Zotero

Click to show optional readings
Liboiron, Max. “Defunct Models of Pollution: Starring Oceanic Plastics and Body Burdens” Discard Studies http://discardstudies.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/defunct-models-of-pollution-starring-oceanic-plastics-and-body-burdens/
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