On April 22nd, Earth Day, I'm releasing a digital album called RetroHash. I've been meaning to go green with my music for a while now and this -- a purely digital release, no plastic disc or jewel case -- is the first step in that direction. So I was happy to have the opportunity to pen a few Earth Day words about the threat plastic poses to our environment.
Not that I'm any expert. There are a lot of really smart people out there writing about how less than 7 percent of the plastic we use in the United States is recycled. How a lot of it ends up dumped in the ocean, tons of it floating to the surface and forming mini islands of bottles and bags. The waste pollutes the water and kills off marine life. I could go on but as I was thinking about this it occurred to me that there's another side of "plastic" -- as in disposable -- that threatens our well-being: the irresponsible and polluted world of digital words.
Like the grocery store that perpetuates the use of disposable and single use plastic, I feel like our new media outlets do the same. As an independent artist, my job relies heavily on the use of technology-driven media, none more important than the social media behemoths like Twitter and Facebook. They allow me to make direct connections with fans and introduce music and news almost immediately. As remarkable as this technology can be, its forced concision, abbreviation, and addiction to speed creating a wasteland of trash talk ranging from bad grammar to gossip to ignorance to the hurtful spreading of just plain lies.
These platforms have strengthened their grip on ego, creating a world in which we seem obsessed with broadcasting ourselves, regardless of content or consequence. Countless posts on quests for more "likes" results in a continuous stream of waste. Negativity overwhelms the comment section and overpowers the occasional constructive criticism. Fights and foul play find their way to the top of news feeds. All of this waste forms islands of ignorance, particularly in the impressionable minds of young people. These words and images are like little toxic dump sites, similar to the bottles and bags in the ocean, that can strangle the brain and render it lifeless.
Like single use plastic, words are too often disposed of without concern for consequence. It's important to understand that our actions have enormous impact on the world around us. Awareness is the first step in reducing pollution of all kinds. Take responsibility for yourself and become conscious of the thoughts and ideas you're taking in and putting out. The disposable lifestyle is easy and convenient, but with accountability and discipline we can better our world inside and out.
Happy Earth Day.