by Brent Flory
SALT LAKE CITY-“Get involved in politics,” said Carrie Brooks.
This is the message heard by students, faculty and employees who were in attendance at showing of the short film “The Story of Broke” last Wednesday as part of the Green Bag Lunch Series at the University of Utah. Brooks is an accountant for the Marriott Library and a green advisor at the U.
“Get who you want in office. They are the ones who make the decisions for us if we don’t get who we want,” she said.
Brooks was echoing the words of the film by Annie Leonard, the author of the book, The Story of Stuff and environmentalist who has spent nearly two decades investigating environmental health and justice issues. The Story of Broke argues that if the government would do a better job of spending the nation’s tax dollars, this would free up funds to plan for a better financial future. Leonard suggests that rather than spending $726 billion a year on the military for unnecessary fighter planes and wars with no end, the money could be better used towards social security or educational programs.
“We are cutting programs that people need. We don’t have to cut Medicare or Social Security. If we spend money on other things, it ends up costing tax payers more money,” said Jan Robertson who attended the event.
The film also discusses tax breaks and subsidies that benefit large corporations allowing for streets that lead nowhere except to the newest shopping center. Leonard says the large subsidies could amount to billions of dollars to be used toward paying off national debt or to provide solar power to U.S homes.
When asked her thoughts on the short film by Leonard, Brooks completely agrees. “ We’ve taken capitalism out of it. We shouldn’t be bailing out companies,” she said.
She isn’t the only one who feels the government could spend less money on major corporations. David Maxfield, senior library specialist, attended the film showing and is very irritated with the nation’s current economic status.
“It’s very frustrating because this country isn’t broke. There are cuts that need to be made…think of all the jobs that could be created if the government were to invest in recycling and going green,” said Maxfield, referring to the number of employees that would be needed to gather recycling bins on a weekly basis.
Although the film focused on suggested improvements for the government, the overall message of the event was to encourage the community to get involved. The University of Utah Green Committee is dedicated to implementing green initiatives. The committee is responsible for the many recycling bins found in every building throughout campus. Former Utah student and current web developer for the library, Amanda Crittenden first got involved with the green committee while a student.
“ I got involved because I wanted to make a difference and stand for something positive. I have learned so much from simply getting involved,” Crittenden said.
Those involved with the green project at the U truly believe in moving toward sustainability. More information can be found online at http://sustainability.utah.edu/green-teams/computing.php.