A Piece About Excess

Susan Albert’s tablecloth installation at Bryant Park and Whole Foods Market on Bowery St. made the connection between climate change and consumerism. North Americans produce more food waste than any other geographic group on the planet. Susan Albert’s brightly colored images of our food waste makes us think twice about our eating habits. Why do we throw out so much of our food when hunger is prevalent all over the world? What are the impacts of our habits of throwing out food and food packaging and sending it all to landfills near our communities? The embroidered QR codes on the tablecloth can link you to a website about the environmental issue that the artistic image is related to. We are living in a culture of excess, which leads to a big waste of time, energy, and resources. However, the plus side is, there are steps being taken to change our consumerism.


Human Impacts Institute crew approached passers-by for their feedback. One of the interactive activities was to test people’s knowledge about some common labels on the products we purchase everyday. What does these phrases like “ALL NATUAL”, “ORGANIC”, “RECYCLABLE” on the packages of the food and cleaning products really mean? Some of these make sense, some just don’t. However, one can always learn more about the environment impacts of products through websites such as EWG and Good Guide.


The other question HII was asking people is “What do you know about your cell phone?”. We all use cell phone everyday, but what materials are they are made of, and where do they come from? Take the circuit boards for example, they are made materials including cooper, gold, lead, and tantalum and other metals, silicone, crude oil, and sand limestone – these come from such places as China, U.S., Russia, South Africa, and many more. So what are their environmental impacts in these countries?

Now HII’s 10 Days of Climate Action 2012 is finished, but our efforts never stop. HII would like to thank all those who participated and helped. Look forward to seeing you soon at our future events!

–Celia Cui, Environmental Services Intern

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