Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the Formaldehyde

FEMA trailers are in the news again. Turns out they're not fit for human habitation. Problem is we've known it all along.

A scathing article on sheds light on the toxic conditions and details the efforts of the United States government to cover it up.

Meanwhile, better than two years on, over 30,000 hurricane victims still call FEMA trailers home.

Certain carpets, plastic laminates, and adhesives out-gas formaldehyde. Put those materials in a closed container (FEMA trailers have little or no natural ventilation) and you've got the prescription for a deathtrap.

Why do we tolerate this? What kind of country are we?

For the cost of a day in Iraq, we could fund a research and development arm of FEMA hiring the best planners, architects, and industrial designers in the country to intelligently and humanely deal with the challenge of emergency housing and delivery logistics.

That's a priority I can vote for.

ps... for the local Mississippi Gulf Coast "scoop" on Katrina issues (FEMA trailers, insurance, lack of affordable housing, etc.) check out my friend Ana Maria's Bay St. Louis blog - its hot!!!


Sage said...

Sustainable choices aren't just in the hands of the CEOs like Ray Anderson. It must fall into the consciousness of the janitors, the trailer manufacturers, the paint mixers.

There were hundreds of people involved in producing that toxic product and none of them had the consciousness to say 'Hey, we shouldn't design/make/paint/ship/sell/etc.. poisonous products"

James Polk said...

It is very much an ethic, a social contract with each other to do no harm. Is that asking too much?

Greener Building . blogspot said...

We are here to remember who we are. The unconscious cannot do any better than they are currently doing.

The question you ask is like asking why a newborn human can't walk at birth.

The unevolved heart can't conceive of the need for an ethic. So the REAL question becomes "how do you raise the consciousness of people?"

Love them up the ladder? I-have-no-idea! Ghandi made some progress. Oprah has done her part.