Reaction Paper Three: Dr. Robert A. Schultz

Most of what Dr. Schultz said I already knew of. I myself worry that the choices we make as a species risks the existence of our descendants. When he spoke about Tobacco companies in particular, this subject hits me hard. My parents themselves are long time smokers. I know that they are bad for a person and are extremely dangerous to one’s lifespan. He spoke about how these huge tobacco corporations paid money to convince their customers that their tobacco products have nothing to do with cancer. However, from my occasional research, I have found that tobacco products can not only be a direct cause to diseases like Lung Cancer, Throat Cancer and Oral Cancer but it can also raise a person’s risk to any type of cancer. Now I love my parents, and I’m sure anyone who is related to a smoker loves their relatives too. I’ve told my parents this and have tried to get them to quit but in order to be successful, not only do I have to defeat the addiction that comes with lots of these products but I must reverse all of the beliefs produced by the Tobacco campaigns.
He also mentioned the new ordinance in Los Angeles that banned plastic bags from being distributed at grocery stores. This was due to the 500 mile object in the ocean created out of shredded plastic from these shopping bags. Another thing he mentioned was the chemical Chlorine and the damage it’s doing on our Ozone. It reminded me of a piece called “The Creation of Waste” by Paul Hawken. It discusses the disastrous consequences of wasteful nations. One part in particular though discusses Chlorine more in depth. Schultz discusses the damage we’re doing to ourselves and this is a wonderful example of that. Chlorine does damage on an individual level as well. Chlorine is a man-made chemical that cannot be recycled and instead combines with other chemicals to create poisons that can lead to tumors in animals that exist in the wild. In a similar fashion, we absorb this chemical much like the wild animals but instead we show no symptoms until it is too late. This then has led to people being sterile/infertile but can also lead to more serious problems like babies having serious health issues. This makes me particularly angry because even though I’m only twenty and have no plans to have children in the near future, I’d like to be able to have kids, and healthy ones for that matter. To add fuel to the flames, big corporations feed off of these fears by releasing things like electric cars or eco-friendly items, at a higher charge of course because they know they and their affiliates are losing money on the back end if their customers are saving money. While this gets rid of consumers creating as much waste, these companies still create massive amounts of waste with their machinery and chemicals even though they are making these “eco-friendly” products.
When he spoke of ancient civilizations, it also brought to mind the chapter “Waste Equals Food” in Cradle to Cradle by William McDonoungh. Schultz mentioned how ancient civilization’s tools are very different from today’s. Easy enough to understand but when you truly think about it, the things they made were very different and reacted in a more positive way toward our ecosystem. Those objects were bio-degradable but often than not, our man-made products create true waste. Our ecosystem cannot reuse this waste and instead this waste takes up space in our environment. We are simultaneously growing as a population while we consistently shrink our environment. I found Schultz lecture extremely relevant and I hope to hear more about it and ways to improve these issues.

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