We need fresh, new ways to ask ourselves “Should I kill myself today, or should I just cry for years about the world I’m leaving my children.” Curiously, the neatly crafted reporting in the documentary “Freightened” essentially ignores its most important finger-wagging opportunity. We consume waaaaaay too much. We should dial down consumer-culture big time.
What is the new topic area you need to shove in the denial drawer of “I like buying stuff”? Shipping containers. Sixty thousand ships per year, scads of them three football fields long, are stacked with shipping containers. The ships burn the dirtiest fuel. They dwarf car emission rates. Every year scores of shipwrecks spill oil and other hazardous cargo and kill ship-workers by the thousand.
The shipping containers, hauling 90 percent of everything we buy, start and end their journeys sealed. Almost all of it is properly documented, proper stuff. Regardless, inspections (to the extent they exist) reveal megatons of illicit counterfeit goods, drugs, toxics, and weapons.
Partnered with the cost-effective brilliance of the standardized shipping container is the brilliance of ships whose “flag of convenience” is Panama or the Marshall Islands or Mongolia. Such countries sell rock-bottom tax collection, morals-free safety and maintenance regimes, and unsympathetic working conditions.
Besides the usual pollutions, noise from ship engines hurt and kill marine mammals, and ship ballasts transport invasive species from one ocean to another.
See the film “Freightened.” Despite its rash of numbers, it’s a fun (spelled “scary”) report you should add to your nightmares.