4 Questions and Pie

Why do we love Walmart? Why is there such a thing as Boxed Water? Why is Oklahoma’s electricity not purely supplied by wind power? What happens to house materials when they are demolished?

These were my questions of the week.

1.      Stillwater Oklahoma has been experiencing a boom in large level construction as of late. Over the past weekend there were 4 houses torn down on Knoblock St. and as I drove past the carnage that remained the thought that crossed my mind was “goodness, that’s a lot of crap to have to move somewhere.”  There were extremely large piles of debris engulfing the once green lots. However, upon further contemplation of the statement I realized that that “crap” was lumber, concreate, steel, and plastic. Precious and expensive building materials that would now end up in our dump. I was reminded of the term “spolia” a Latin word for spoils, the practice of repurposing building materials for new construction. This practice was common in late antiquity times practiced by Romans, Greeks, the Islamic cultures along with many others. But why is it uncommon in today’s construction?

2.      Why is the brand-new Endeavor building, located on our Campus here at OSU, not run on Wind energy? It has multiple very fancy wind turbines placed all around it, why not make the building run on them? Why not have the whole campus run on it? A 100% wind powered campus. Goodness knows Oklahoma has the wind to keep them going. For that matter why isn’t more of the state ran on wind power? I’ve seen the wind farms out around the Wichita Mountains they sprinkle the western side of the state like giant wildflowers so why is the number one place Oklahoma get its energy from Natural Gas? The amount of “sustainable electric” that is used by Oklahomans is half that of Natural Gas created electric used based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration Website. While it makes since for our infrastructure to be set up for Natural Gas, as our highest gross export in the state, we should be able to utilize this energy as well. Farmers, such as my father, have been approached by multiple companies to rent or buy section of their land to install these turbines but can’t get access to the electric it creates

3.      Why do we love Walmart? I have a love hate relationship with the covenant box store. But why? Why do I go to a place that makes me want to buy things that I don’t need, in some cases things I didn’t know existed? I don’t know anyone who feels good leaving Walmart. But the quantity over quality moto is the epitome of the buying experience there.

These are the questions I have had circling my head for the past week. Each one of these experiences was unique and intriguing in their own right but once combined a bigger question arose, how do these things affect one another? The question of sustainability is a difficult one. It’s not one with a simple answer but thinking about the overconsumption pushed on us by marketing in stores such as Walmart, the inability to tap into truly sustainable resources such as wind power on the local level, and the lack of desire to reclaim materials all adds up. It’s like a puzzle and as such each action we take as a person, a community, and a nation effects the nation, the community, and the person a circle of cause and effect where it doesn’t seem like we are all on the same team. We as a culture have become so blind that we seem to be on island that is sinking but burned the last canoe to make a bigger fire than our neighbors. The thing that my mind comes back to is that people believe it’s an issue of ignorant culture, and while that maybe correct in its own right I fear it’s a deeper-seated issue that we must face and that is the human nature of greed. Greed that drives a company to push consumers to buy, greed that wants to monopolize the energy busyness, and greed that wants to newer fancier apartments. But when a company, such as boxed water, tries to develop an eco-friendlier alternative to disposable plastic it comes across as a gimmick or joke.

4.      Do you remember the good old days in elementary school when they gave us the impossible to open cartons of milk? Those were the days. Well now you can take a trip down memory lane with your water! That’s correct you can now find cartons of water in your local supermarket. I couldn’t help but laugh the first time I encountered this product. I thought the foodies of the planet had finally lost their minds if the average consumer was buying into this product.

 But later I became curious what was it about and so broke out the old google to shed a little light on it. What I found was quite impressive, they are offering a more sustainable option to the plastic bottle epidemic. Instead of using the plastic bottles we all know and loath, yet use, we can use the paper boxes, which are more recyclable or if not recycled decomposes at a much quicker rate for the environment. This are the simple adjustments that we should strive for. It would not be an open-ended solution to our problems but there never will be an end all be all solution to this question. It’s like pie, not the food but the number, it is an indefinite number but if you use 3.14 you get close to the answer your seeking.

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