Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on April 15, 2008
Americans are made of corn and living in a state of denial about sustainability. These are the sentiments of I.D. contributing editor Barbara Flanagan. In the article titled “Too Yellow To Be Green”, she writes: “Corn and denial. We don’t want to know the ingredients of our food, or anything else — like our houses, cars, furniture, or clothing”. What’s more, according to a survey by Insight Express, 72 percent of us don’t know what plastic is made from (petrol, in case you were wondering).
Calling America “a nation that loves freedom from information”, Flanagan continues: “The comfort, speed and sheer bigness of American life depends on a tacit pact between leaders and voters and between manufacturers and consumers. We, the voters/consumers, promise not to get too curious, if you, the leaders/suppliers, just keep the good stuff coming fast and cheap.”
Sadly, she is spot on and the evidence is everywhere. The majority of Americans eat what were once natural ingredients that have processed beyond recognition and are packed with high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats. In our homes and cars, artificial ingredients pose as natural ones. We live under roofs that look like “cellulose mats soaked with asphalt” while laminated flooring — made from melamine resins — impersonates oak. We drive what looks like leather or steel but are actually polycarbonates, polypropylene or a host of other polys.
“Admit it. American life was way more fun before this whole sustainability thing got going” says Flanagan. It’s true. Ignorance was bliss. But now know we what we do, we can’t stay living in denial. In the same way over-weight America is finally looking at the “nutrition facts” and ingredient lists on food products, we need to start scrutinizing other aspects of our lives. Questioning what materials go into our homes, cars, clothes and toys. Being curious about practices and processes. And it all begins with greening ourselves. That is, if we’re not too yellow.
In other green news in this month’s I.D., a wickedly good collapsible bike designed by Mark Sanders for Strida, a bike which is described as “a rare combination of function and flash; (which) from day one, drew more stares than Gisele Bündchen in a see-though dress”. If that doesn’t draw one to two wheels, I don’t know what would.
Check out I.D., The International Design Magazine, here.