On the face of it, selecting photographer Chris Jordan as the keynote speaker for the Greener Gadgets Conference may seem like an odd choice...until you get a look at his work. He's best known in the green world for his collection Running the Numbers, which attempts to show the results of our country's addiction to mass consumption.
"You can't go see the total amount of garbage we generate every day because it's divided out all over the country," Jordan told the sellout crowd of 400+ at the Greener Gadgets Conference. "I've devoted the last five years of my life documenting the detritus of our consumer culture and mass consumption".
Jordan combines photography with some deft Photoshop work to build up giant images showing the number of items Americans use in a certain period of time. Some of the images he's put together include the:
- 410,000 paper cups used every 15 minutes
- 2,000,000 plastic beverage bottles used every 15 minutes
- 11,000 commercial flights every 8 hours
- 426,000 cell phones "retired" every day
- 1,140,000 brown paper supermarket bags used every hour
- 106,000 aluminum cans used every 30 seconds
- 60,000 plastic bags used every five seconds
- 15,000,000 sheets of office paper every five minutes
- 38,000 shipping containers, the number processed through American ports every 12 hours
Chris thinks that the green movement is happening, but is stalling out. He used the analogy of the finish of a bike race - everyone is waiting for the other person to make the first move toward the finish line. He also believes that the green movement is hampered by the lack of cool. Michael Jordan changed the face of basketball fashion overnight when he showed up to the game wearing baggy shorts. Although people like Al Gore and Paul Hawkin are necessary to the environmental movement, they lack the cool factor of a green Michael Jordan.
Chris called upon all the conference attendees to find the passion for changing the world and to bring it back to their day-to-day lives and jobs. He definitely brings that passion to his work and I encourage you all to check out his site to learn more.
written by Carl Foner, February 07, 2008
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