Saturday, August 14, 2010

Y'know, there was a time public radio was worth listening to

Those days have passed.

The public radio program "Marketplace" is produced by American Public Media, the second largest producer of public radio programs in the US. On Wednesday's show, reporters Bob Moon and Adriene Hill spoke about t-shirt entrepreneurs basing designs on BP's Gulf oil disaster, aiming either to raise money for relief and restoration or just to make a living. It included this exchange:
Moon: OK, now follow me here on this. A lot of these shirts are decrying the environmental damage that this oil spill has done. But I wonder: Aren't the t-shirts themselves having some environmental impact here?

Hill: They sure do. The average cotton t-shirt takes more than 700 gallons of water to produce. You've got to grow the cotton, you've got to produce the fabric. There's also a lot of petroleum that goes into shipping the cotton to fabric makers, fabric makers to t-shirt makers, and the t-shirts back to the U.S. So there's oil involved here. There is a touch of irony.
Okay. Let me leave aside the fact that she had the argument at her fingertips, including the rather arcane fact of how much water it takes to produce a cotton t-shirt, which means either that she is an expert on the environmental impact of clothing or, far more likely, this supposedly offhand exchange was actually scripted in advance. Let me get to my question, which is this:

Making these t-shirts is different from making any other t-shirt exactly how?

It's really not? Oh. Well, in that case:

The environmental impact of these shirts is comparable, even "ironically," to corporate criminality that lead to the deaths of 11 workers and dumping nearly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in likely the biggest environmental disaster in US history exactly how?

That's what I thought.

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