Naturally Plastic Food

Union Carbide Ad 1946 Plastics for food preservation

What science didn't know then was that plastic coatings in food containers enter the bloodstream, and has been linked to cancer.

Think: In 1948, manufacturing companies had no idea about the possible long-term effects of their plastics on human health or waterways and ecosystems. In 2011, manufacturing companies DO know the long-term health, social and environmental impacts of their products, yet they still produce them, to great profit.  What do you think about this ad that calls food encased in plastic and soaked in nitrogen “natural”?

Feel: Advertising plays on our emotions, putting us in the right frame of mind to accept their messages, even when we disbelieve. How do you feel about the fact that known harmful substances are still manufactured, traded, sold and bought, sometimes with government subsidies and tax breaks?

Grow: Knowing what we know scientifically and anecdotally about the harmful effects of plastics and synthetic chemicals in our food, what new opportunities for food packaging and processing can we make for ourselves. What are our avenues for growth that would stimulate profound change?

Did you know? Consumer choices matter, but the quantity of what’s produced far out-paces what we can possibly purchase and consume. The primary responsibility is with the manufacturer. Don’t be fooled, even when you buy the recyclable products, not every state / county / city can process every single type of recyclable item you dispose of. Just because it is recyclable does NOT mean that it WILL be recycled. The treadmill of production just continues to create things to sell to us. It’s up to us to demand that the mill stop producing so much STUFF!

Want to learn more? Read Ken Gould’s book The Treadmill of Production.

Book: Treadmill o0f Production by Kenneth A. Gould, David N. Pellow and Allan Schnaiberg

A quick, informative, well-researched read by Ken Gould and friends. I've studied with Ken and can vouch for the caliber of information int he book.


Second Act: Digital Storytelling

Last week, I presented at the General Meeting in the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab where I work on the visual portion of my PhD research. I excerpted and modified this blog entry from my post on the New Media Lab blog. In the meeting, I shared my experiences using Prezi and critiqued its limitations after praising it’s strengths. During the Q&A /conversation session, I mentioned a well-known lecture named “Killing Us Softly” by Jean Kilbourne, in which she analyzes gender stereotypes in advertising. I led the conversation in the Lab meeting  about the merits of digital and visual storytelling as a means of broadening the audience for our research, so I decided to share Jean Kilbourne’s talk here.

I have no way of knowing at this moment whether she used Powerpoint, Keynote or a film editing program. What matters for me is the way that she wove the technology into the fabric of her talk. As an underlying structure, it indicates that she memorized her talk and only looks to her paper for notes and pacing. She begins her discussion by sharing anecdotal information which the etiology of the project idea and situated herself in relation to the topic of interest.

By being less focused on slide progression, Ms. Kilbourne can be herself. She can interact with and ingratiate the audience in a way that encourages audience participation and investment in the topic. The few statistics she employed were easy to understand bar graphs and bulleted lists. I am firm believer that social, physical and life scientists, philosophers, and even theoretical mathematicians can increase baseline interest in their work by presenting it in ways that are organically enjoyable to hear, see and learn from.

Shawndel Fraser

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