We are all downstream from something
What is the worth of Nature?
It’s not easy to think beyond the ends of our noses. The Digital Cuttlefish writes about a recent dishwashing detergent story:
The bloom in the river is turning it green
And it’s killing off all of the fishes,
The river is dying, tree-huggers are crying,
But Mabel, just look at my dishes!
They sparkle! They glimmer! They’re spotlessly clean!
They’re as gorgeous as gorgeous can be!
The scientists may see the cause of the bloom,
I see a reflection of me!…
That’s just two stanzas – go read the rest of it for the pure delight of the Interweb’s Most Awesome Poet.
But here’s what he’s on about: NPR did a story where people were actually complaining because EPA rules banning phosphate dishwashing detergents were resulting in dish spots. That’s right: aquatic life was less important than sparkly dishes. Some of them even went so far as to go to the hardware store to buy trisodium phosphate and mix their own.
Laundry detergents went phosphate-free in the ’70′s, but for some reason dishwashing detergents lagged 40 years behind. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to sell anything anymore on the basis that it would be better for the environment we all share. It’s an inspiring testament to the human ability to deny reality if it interferes with something we want, however insignificant, and regardless of the consequences, however great. Will it be possible to educate ourselves out of this mess? What will it take?