Things You May Not Know. (Because I did not know.)

Hi! Sometimes we learn things we did not know that suddenly make the world make sense again, or at least provides explanations for current events or inequalities that you couldn’t explain before. I have talked about a lot of these things that helped me in my journey to understanding systemic racism and white privilege…like about red-lining, the failure of Freedman’s Bank and the lost of saving of many African American’s, and about origins of the Voting Rights Act. But there have been a lot of others lately that I thought I’d share with you too.

CHINA USED TO BUY ALL OF OUR RECYCLING UNTIL 2017 AND NOW WE ARE ALL PANICKING

Has your city changed recycling systems and policies in the last few years? Then you need to read up on how China was buying all of our recycling for years and how it stopped recently, throwing our systems into upheaval. Here’s an NPR article about it, here’s a Vox article about it, and here’s a podcast about it. The moral of the story is, we need to support ALL recycling where we live to encourage our municipalities and our commercial industries to invest in ways to improve it. Yes…none of our systems are perfect now and maybe the energy saved is not as much as we hoped, but THERE WILL BE NO IMPROVEMENTS IF WE ALL LEAVE OUR RECYCLING BINS EMPTY EVERY WEEK.

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES DO NOT INVEST AS MUCH IN R&D AS WE THINK

Something I’ve heard for the last decade of discussion around our health industry is that the silver lining of our ridiculous pharmaceutical process is all of the discovered that come from those R&D departments that make our lives better. Turns out? This is not true. Hank goes over some of the “myths” towards the end of this video here. He cites Mariana Mazucatto’s work and I’m putting her on my must-read list now.

CRASH TESTS IN VEHICLES DID NOT INCLUDE WOMEN’S BODY SIZES IN TESTING UNTIL 2011

It turns out that the auto industry thought that using an average male body was good enough for decades. When they were forced to included women’s sized bodies in test (which, for the record, did not actually include changes in the biomechanic settings of the dummies, they just made them smaller) they realized how terrible their safety systems were which explained why a study done around that time showed women were 47% likely to be injured more than a man and 17% more likely to die. I learned this listening to an interview with Caroline Criado-Perez about her book: Invisible Women which I of course immediately checked out at the library.

ANYWAY! These are three things on my mind this week that have helped explain other things that have perplexed me. I hope they enlighten you as well.