Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Things done changed

Remember back in the days, when niggaz had waves
Gazelle shades, and corn braids
Pitchin pennies, honies had the high top jellies
Shootin skelly, motherfuckers was all friendly

I watched the State of the Union address last night. The President said the following:

Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future. Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources. And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases....The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change.
Full text of speech here

Granted, there is a huge gulf between this type of rhetoric and actual policy on this issue- the United States has failed to participate in many international collective actions designed to reduce emissions, stalling and wasting precious time- almost a decade of lateral policy movement. Frankly, I don't have the time or energy to even get into it.

However, this stands in marked contrast to Dick Cheney's remarks (and the stance of the administration and Republican party) in 2001 when he rolled out the utterly absurd "National Energy Policy." He said "conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy."

Granted, the President's speech was that of an extremely lame duck. He spoke in oblique generalities and trumpeted easily cheered ideas. The speech was designed to keep Bush from hurting his party any worse than he already has. It was really nice to finally see over the mountain to a country without such a man who would roll out an energy policy characterized by Cheney's quote above, not to mention any number of the administrations absurd affronts to good environmental policy.

But one thing about highly conservative politicians, is that when they've finally changed their tune, you know that the winds of opinion have already changed. Apparently, it's political suicide for them to speculate in the oilmen's camp, at least publicly. Finally, they've acknowledged what people who have been paying attention have known with some certainty for quite a long time.

Climate Change has gone from political issue to political fact.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Eyes closed

So here's a weird one- Nike claims that the New Air Jordans (the XX3 for you sneaker heads) will be the first shoe made entirely with "sustainable materials." What that means, I have no fucking clue. Leather from a low impact animal like a buffalo? Recycled plastic bags? Locally grown produce? What? Does the shoe just last a long-assed time?

And what is the motivation for doing this? Is this kind of a bogus "organic as marketing gimmick" thing like you see with the big food companies? Does this mark a shift in the way multi-national corporations are thinking about their business practices or just their marketing? Was Pitchman-of-the-Century Michael Jordan involved in this? Is sustainability his new steez?

No, seriously, I want to know.

Also, does this mean that this particular Nike shoe is not made in a sweatshop somewhere in Southeast Asia? Frankly, I have too little information to do anything other than ask a long series of rhetorical questions.

If I can get some of these answered, then maybe I can finally get the lil' lady outfitted in some sustainable streetwear for her sustainable lifestyle.

[TMZ]: The New Air Jordan is finna be a green-assed shoe (with Photo)

Edit: Ask and you shall receive. I've been directed by a good semaritan to this page, which has the following specificiations:
Glue: Employs only water-based cements, reducing the amount of toxic solvents and wastes in the manufacturing process.

Red stitching: New "3-D" stitching fuses the midsole to the upper and an inner sock, reducing the need for glue while preserving comfort.

Side-panel stitching: Attaches outside leather layer to three internal layers, also reducing glue use.

Outsole: Rubber contains a more biodegradable additive and some recycled waste left over from the manufacturing of other footwear.

Inner bootie: Made partly of recycled polyester, reducing use of oil-based synthetics.

Chassis: Made from thermal plastic urethane, a recyclable plastic.

Manufacturing: Nike said it revamped its process of manufacturing the Air Jordan to reduce waste.
Apparently they've tried this before but the costs were about 25% higher than normal, so they incorporated these improvements into the Jordan, for which the consumer appeal is so high that price is almost irrelevant.