20 July 2009


16 July 2009

Bloomberg Inc., the financial world giant has resolved to examine every aspect of its sourcing and operations with an eye to reducing the impact it makes on the planet. I don’t know the totality of the plan, but what I do know is they were specifying that purchased items should have no chrome due to the toxicity of that metal and processes involved in its manufacture. That level of specificity indicates real intent to me, and I applaud this initiative. There is a fascinating trend in businesses that realize good sustainability practices are good business practices due to reduced long-term costs. Who can argue with a concerted “turn off the lights” program that saves thousand of dollars a month?

As part of their eco awareness program, Bloomberg invites speakers from firms and environmental groups, and yes, even Soapbox Henry.

I decided to speak about “That Obscure Object of Desire,” title of course taken from the Buñuel film, meaning specifically that our desire for object, constantly cheaper than before, and frequently ridiculous items we don’t need, is desecrating the systems that sustain us. As an example, I referred to an object I had photographed years ago as part of a catalog job (the only thing I have not photographed is the Sears tool catalog). Nothing could exist that is more useless than this item, yet someone had seen fit to produce whatever minimum thousands had to be made in the surety that some devout soul would purchase them in the hope of solace. There was also a priceless angel with a light inside. I wanted to keep it.

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg presentation was packed. An estimated 500 people suffered my rants, froths, entreaties, promises, and anecdotes. As one might expect, they were intelligent, interested, and thankfully, pleased.

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