If Products Tell Their Stories March 1 2010

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If Products Tell Their Stories March 1 2010

  1. 1. IF PRODUCTS COULD TELL THEIR STORIES TOWARDS A MODEL OF SUSTAINABLE DESIGN JEN VAN DER MEER NYU ITP WEEK 4: MARCH 1, 2010
  2. 2. RECALLED 2_12_2009
  3. 3. RECALLED 2_25_2010
  4. 4. RECALLED 2_18_2010
  5. 5. TODAY’S FOCUS: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN REGULATING HOW STUFF IS MADE _Political Anaesthesia _Government: Local, State, National Sex and Plastic CPSIA Debate Shift in US Environmental Policy _International: Precautionary Principal
  6. 6. CAN INVERTED QUARANTINE EVEN WORK? Water •  DRINKING Drinking Cooking •  EATING •  BREATHING Biologic
  7. 7. CAN INVERTED QUARANTINE EVEN WORK? •  DRINKING •  EATING •  BREATHING
  8. 8. CAN INVERTED QUARANTINE EVEN WORK? •  DRINKING •  EATING •  BREATHING
  9. 9. CAN INVERTED QUARANTINE EVEN WORK? “Practicing inverted quarantine exacts a psychic toll, … requires that one organize one’s whole existence around the perceived need to erect and forever maintain barriers through constant and repetitive acts of monitoring, avoidance, separation and enclosure. (It) would have to become the organizing principle for the conduct of every day life.“ _Szasz
  10. 10. CONSEQUENCES OF INVERTED QUARANTINE: POLITICAL ANESTHESIA Inverted quarantine changes people’s experience. It alters their perception of their situation. Their sense of being at risk diminishes. The feeling, correct or not, that they have done something effective to protect themselves reduces the urgency to do something more abut what, until then, felt threatening to them. If many people experience such a reduction in urgency, that will have consequences in a democracy. “Political anesthesia” – reduction in urgency, having taken care of the threat.
  11. 11. WHAT THE FRACK?
  12. 12. RISE OF EU, DECLINE OF US America used to lead the world in protecting its citizens from environmental harm. Over the last 15+ years, the EU began to lead the way in establishing stronger environmental standards. Other countries are banning toxic chemicals that Americans still use.
  13. 13. WHY THE SHIFT IN POWER? 1989: Montreal Protocol– led by the US – to ban ozone-depleting chemicals. 2001: POPS convention: Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Bush signed just after he took office in 2001, but it was never ratified, because Bush’s legal team took issue with the fact that the international agreement could supersede US law, and introduce new chemicals to ban without the US’s direct authority. Will the US regain power under Obama?
  14. 14. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE EU adopts the precautionary principle: acting to avoid serious or irreversible potential harm, despite lack of scientific certainty as to the likelihood, magnitude, or causation of that harm. Look for patterns, act in anticipation of risk. Particularly when children are involved. US principle: do not act until scientific consensus on causation has been established. Greater risk is in tempering economic growth for uncertain environmental outcome.
  15. 15. ARGUMENT VS. PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE Stifles innovation. Stops progress. Anti-business. Embedded in the Precautionary Principle is the notion that we can anticipate all of the ramifications of a technology in advance and can tell whether on balance it will be a net benefit or cost to humanity and the environment.
  16. 16. What’s the harm in these ducks?
  17. 17. Learning from rats: effect of phthalates on hormonal development in male rats and baby boy humans
  18. 18. ANO-GENITAL DISTANCE Dr. Shanna Swan: studied pregnant mothers and their infant sons. Certain phthalates serve as endocrine disruptors – potentially leading to the “feminization of infant boys.” Chemical industry response: this is “rat syndrome.”
  19. 19. US has become a “dumping ground” for Chemicals not sold in the ROW
  20. 20. EFFECT OF BAN ON BUSINESS OF PHTHALATES Danisco and BASF developed alternatives, no change to the European toy market in the years after the ban. Mattel, Hasbro, Toys R Us developed their own ban on levels of phthalates in children’s toys. Dr. Swan: “Substitutes are working. Why take the risk? Why put this into kids bodies if we don’t have to?”
  21. 21. PHTHALATES TODAY in the US 2006 California state senator – Wilma Chan – launched a bill to ban 6 types of phthalates that were already banned in the EU. Heavy lobby by Toy industry to halt the ban. 90% of toys are made in China, but the fear was that the ban would affect small-medium sized toy makers. Banned first in San Francisco 2007.
  22. 22. PHTHALATES NOW BANNED IN TEETHERS Then in 2008, in response to a crisis in consumer confidence, the CPSIA was passed. Starting on February 10, 2009, certain children’s toys and child care articles can no longer be sold, offered for sale, manufactured or imported for sale in the United States if they contain more than 0.1% of specified phthalates. In addition, CPSC staff will sample teethers, rattles and pacifiers to confirm that manufacturers continue their practice of not using prohibited phthalates. Major conflict and confusion pits environmental activists against small business owners, ETSY and Ebay sellers, who are now facing significant testing costs to comply with the ban. Major toy companies that already adopted their own bans are ahead of the curve.
  23. 23. BIG BUSINESS BENEFITS Major toy companies that already adopted their own bans are ahead of the curve in terms of testing: Mattel, Hasbro, Toys R Us.
  24. 24. http://heatherknitzdesigns.blogspot.com
  25. 25. SHIFT IN EPA UNDER OBAMA From “voluntary programs” to regulation GHG emissions are a threat to public safety Mercury Policy – Global Treaty Ban Montaintop removal – more difficult Review of mining permits Proactive stance on toxic chemicals “First, we need to review all chemicals against safety standards that are based solely on considerations of risk - not economics or other factors - and we must set these standards at levels that are protective of human health and the environment.” _Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, September 29, 2009
  26. 26. SHIFT IN LOCUS OF INNOVATION US’s refusal to sign Kyoto accord shifted business opportunities from the US to the EU and China – investments in renewable energy, clean development, and updating of old factories. Hot Flat and Crowded: proposes that an ambitious national strategy —which Friedman calls "Geo-Greenism"—is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure.
  27. 27. TWEAKED TO TELL THE TRUTH We already had a market that subsidizes fossil fuel at the expense of renewable energy. In a world that's hot, flat and crowded, clean tech has to be the next great global industry and therefore the country that takes the lead in clean power and clean tech is going to, by definition, be an economic and strategic leader in the 21st century; and that's why there's absolutely no contradiction not only between going green and being patriotic, geopolitical and geostrategic. They actually go together. The free market will be fine, he says, so long as it’s tweaked to start telling the truth, reflecting the true cost to the earth of all that we consume.
  28. 28. COPENHAGEN
  29. 29. COPENHAGEN The Copenhagen accord recognizes the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but does not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.. Brokered between China, South Africa, India, Brazil and the US. Considered a huge failure by countries in developing world who had been holding out for deeper emission cuts to hold the global temperature rise to 1.5C this century. As widely expected, all references to 1.5C in past drafts were removed at the last minute, but more surprisingly, the earlier 2050 goal of reducing global CO2 emissions by 80% was also dropped. Concession; The deal aims to provide $30bn a year for poor countries to adapt to climate change from next year to 2012, and $100bn a year by 2020. Shift in power from US  China
  30. 30. NEXT CLASS: Readings: Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power. Chapter 1: Soft Power, Hard Edge. Chapter 4: Two Houses of Risk, pp. 1-19, 67-82. Assignment due next class: Government policy is changing quickly. For the product you’ve chosen to analyze, research which government agencies have an effect over the system of how the product is created: FDA, EPA, CDC, FTC… Are states and local governments regulating this product, or do they have plans to? Share your findings on your blog.

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