Monday, June 25, 2007

Let's just get on with the program

I know, I know. I am a liar. I am sorry. I had a busy weekend. Let's get on with it.

Even before we started working on this film, I often chided people for their senseless consumption. One of the items that, to me, seemed (and still does, to the extent that we NEED them) to me to be a bit unnecessary, was cell phones. I know, they make the world smaller, they help us stay in touch, they make sure we are never out of reach if something bad happens. When I start preaching about the perils of cell phone use my aunt often reminds me that if I had possessed a cell phone that one time I got a flat tire when I was 17, it wouldn't have been so scary. I guess it is hard to argue against that point, but given the fact that a cell phone wasn't able to change my tire for me, I still don't think it made much of a difference. In any event, I don't really like cell phones. I find them intrusive, annoying, cumbersome, and terribly inappropriate in movie theatres. The new advent of internet/cameras/music/instant messaging all in your pocket I find particularly irritating, which is why I resisted in getting a phone with bells and whistles as long as possible. If I had to have a phone, I wanted one that made and received calls and little else. This was, of course, until my phone stopped working.

Much to the chagrin of me, and much to the delight of those around me, I was forced to get a new phone last week. Luckily I was in line for a new one through my service provider, so it didn't cost me any money, and it does come with a few extra things. It has a camera (haven't used yet) and supposedly superior internet capabilities (don't plan on using). With all of the wonderful features that came with the phone came a problem: what do with with the old one. Simply by virtue of the fact that I am an environmentally conscious individual, and that I am preaching those values to you all, I cannot simply throw it away, nor do I even want to. As a result, I have spent the last week or so casually looking for a way to recycle it.

I wish I could say that recycling my cell phone was as easy as recycling the bottles and cans which inhabit my 2nd garbage can in the kitchen. Unfortunately, there are very few places where one can actually go in person to drop off one's phone, and see that it will be turned into tin cans, batteries, aluminum cans, mattress springs, etc. I was getting frustrated until I found Chapter 730 of the New York State laws of 2006, requiring:

businesses to accept up to 10 cell phones from any person or provide shipping for those phones.

This is following a trend of companies taking responsibility of their e-waste, something that has already been dealt with on this site. I guess this makes my search easy: all I have to do is walk into my nearest Sprint dealership with a copy of NY State law, and demand that they accept my old phone. It may be the only thing involving my phone I am proud to do.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Embarrassed, but Well Rested.

First off, I am sorry. It has been well over a month since my last broadcast from Wasteland Land, and that isn't right. I can imagine by now the only person to whom I am writing is some poor overweight Blogger employee who has to peruse all of these crappy blogs. Sorry, my friend. I can't really speak for Wes, who appears to be having a good time in Ecuador.

At least he doesn't have to wipe today

As for myself, I have a kind-of good excuse. I was finishing things up for a music video (check back at Rosenblog for updates) and getting back to work so that I can continue to pay rent in my Brooklyn palace. Other than that, it has been just supreme laziness. The weather here is still tolerable, and I have been trying to spend as much time outside as possible until it gets nasty.

To make up for it though, I am going to go on a bit of a tear. I have some nice things Wasteland related brewing, which I will share with everyone starting tomorrow. This weekend will be like the Sunday Times; way too much information to take in at once, but riviting journalism. Maybe it will just be the former. With more spelling and gramatical errors. Hey, I didn't earn that film degree to construct sentances good.

Keep it locked, I will see you (hello? is this thing on?) tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2007

No Complaint Man

Since we have started this project, one of the items that keeps coming up over and over again is the current behavior of Colin Beaven, AKA No Impact Man. I want to go on record right now and say that I definitely (DEFINITELY) plan on pursuing Mr. Beaven for an interview for our film. I love what he is doing, I read his blog almost every day, and I think he will make a fantastic addition to the film. That b said, we are on a bit of a shooting hiatus over here. Wes is gallivanting around the part of the world where it's currently winter, I am finishing up a music video, and Danny is ripping his hair out trying to make something great from the minimal materials with which he was provided.

Again: I want NIM (No Impact Man. Clever, right?) in the movie, but since he will be doing his experiment for another 9 months, there really isn't much rush.

Not that he needs my plugs, but go read the No Impact Man blog. It is funny and interesting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wasteland Off Topic: Bees

I would like to start a little feature here at the ole' Wasteland blog where every once in a while we talk about something not necessarily related to our film. Don't get me wrong, Wes and I are spectacularly self involved and want the attention on us and our project as much as possible, but something it feels important to talk about something besides our movie. The only rule is that it must have something to do with the environment; it can be laws, news, or even just a simple anecdote about it. So here we go with our inaugural Wasteland Off Topic segment

As reported fabulously by the New York Times, bees are disappearing all over the world. Though they have been doing so for decades, it appears that scientists are completely befuddled, and they think they are on the verge of something pretty serious. I told this to a friend of mine over the weekend, and she all but jumped out of her chair in celebration. While some people may see this as an end to some kind of annoyance, especially here in New york during the summer months, it would be a catastrophic loss for humans. As is noted in the article, bees are the most important of all insects for the food chain. They pollinate the crops that turn into the food that we eat, and scientists have been unable to copy that process artificially. Though the article all but refutes the claim made by Bill Maher on Sunday that cell phones are causing bees to lose their navigation system, it does seem to indicate that the problem very well may be man made. Pesticides, anti-weed sprays on crops and pollution are among the 'mind boggling' amount of possibilities. It is an interesting and frightening read.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wasteland Reading List

As many of you may know, this operation of ours got started from reading some books. Now, hold on a second, I know what you're saying: "Aaron, Wes, come on. Why would I sit and read a bunch of books when I can just wait for your awesomely entertaining, funny, informative, thought provoking movie to come out?" First of all, I don't think that "awesomely" is a word, secondly, the movie will not be done for some time, and I imagine that you can read all of these books twice before it comes out. Finally though, all of the information that we have, and will acquire comes originally from the pages of these books. If you have any suggestions, go ahead and leave them in the comments.

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte

This is the one that started it all. Wes read this book a few years ago, gave it to me, I read it and we both agreed that there was an interesting movie here. This is the story of a woman named Elizabeth who decided she wants to follow her trash to find out where exactly it goes after she puts it on her curb. What she finds is at times funny, and at other times frightening as she travels all over the east coast following her garbage.

Wasteland Rating: ***** (out of 5)

The Overspent American by Juliet Schor

This book gave us a really interesting perspective on our story. We realized we couldn't really tell the story of garbage in America without first examining where all that garbage comes from. It explains how and why Americans buy so much, but is incredibly well written, well informed and always entertaining. Read in conjunction with Garbage Land a cycle of buying and disposing begins to emerge.

Wasteland Review: ***** (out of 5)

Bronx Ecology by Alan Hershkowitz

Dr. Hershkowitz is a scientist at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and this book documents his attempt to build a fully integrated environmentally safe paper recycling plant in the Bronx in New York City. The book has patches that may not be of interest to someone who is, say, not an expert in water studies, or a chemical engineer. The last half of the book, however, which talks about the plant's ultimate demise is a fascinating read, and gives a great insight as to why being a practical environmentalist is so difficult. Local government, corruption, big business and special interest get in the way of something that could truly provide for the community.

Wasteland Review: *** (out of 5)

Toxic Exports by Jennifer Clapp

I just received this book in the mail from Jennifer this week, so I will have to get back to you on this.

Wasteland Review ***** (out of 5)*

*Review based solely on Jennifer's fantastic interview she gave to Wes and me up in Canada.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where From Here???

Sorry to not post in awhile. I was hanging out at Joshua Tree last week with my family.

I want to suggest to any of you that read this blog regularly to check out the new edition of Vanity Fair, the one with Leonardo Dicaprio. He has a film called, "The 11th Hour," coming out soon, and it should be an interesting look at the environmental impact of humans on the planet. There are also some fabulous articles about the structure of the current administration's cabinet members, including those in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) right now.

The scary thing is that despite the fact that Aaron and I are making this film with no preconceived notions about what the best way to deal with garbage is, the EPA has been resoundingly silent. We have contacted Roxanne Smith, the press liaison for landfill oversight and Superfund cleanup, and the extent of our talks has been running in circles. The EPA is refusing to do any interview because they say that waste dumping experts are all working for the corporations that dump your trash, not the EPA. Unfortunately it is the EPA who is responsible for making sure that these private companies get rid of your stuff without bending the rules. It is the EPA who is supposed to make sure that our landfills don't leak into rivers and lakes, and that hazardous waste is dealt with properly.

What is the motive for the EPA to not talk with us? We are not trying to attack them. We only want to hear about what is being done in America to combat the amounts of waste created by Americans. If you go to the EPA website, you can look up all of the Superfund site cleanups they are currently involved in. Most are old landfills that are now leaking, so why wouldn't our federal oversight for these private landfills be more than willing to explain just how waste can be dealt with so to stop the eventual problem of leaky landfills that pollute our country?

Could it be that many appointees to the EPA (not to mention a variety of other departments in the Federal Government) had formerly worked for private corporations that fought the EPA's attempts to restrain their abilities to pollute? In fact most of the people that work within the EPA are most likely afraid of exposure to the larger problem of corruption and cronyism within the EPA. When former employees of corporations that run landfills and garbage disposal services begin to run waste oversight at the EPA, there is a problem. I have no issue with scientists making sure the science of waste management is being run properly, but when science is run by corrupt politicians bought and paid for by corporations, something needs to change.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Why go to the movies?

We have some more work ahead of us, and there should be another one of these coming by the end of the night. Wes will be going to South America, and I will be going to LA, and the fate of our film will be in the very component hands of Danny Brothers. This will be our last contribution for a while. Please send it to your friends and let us know what you think.