Because You Can’t Recycle
The Planet
Durham Central Park

Given that Durham is only two and a half degrees of separation instead of the usual six and that we have more in common with an intentional community than modern American sprawl culture…

Durham graffitti

Durham graffiti

Some readers might know that I work at a local downtown restaurant to pay the bills. At said restaurant, we have recently stopped default serving straws with drinks. For environmental reasons. You might have heard about the floating island of plastic trash in the Pacific.

This ignited a conversation the other night at a table of over drinks served without straws. As I explained our new policy, one woman at a table for twelve nodded her head sagely and said, “Totally, I use metal straws.”

To which I replied, “So does my friend, River.”

The customer discussed with a surprised friend at the table (the one who had originally asked if she could have a straw with her cocktail after I’d served it) how much she’d reduced her personal straw usage and her environmental footprint. She even had four more metal straws in her bag so that she could give one to her newly awoken friend.

One person, one community at a time is how we make change.

Durham’s environmentally conscious and eco-connected will be front and center Friday night. At 5pm in Durham Central Park there will a be a screening of “Reuse! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet.” It will be showing in a modified U-Haul trailer tiny home.

This is an opportunity to take advantage of Durham’s two and a half degrees of separation to channel your intentionality.

Also on-hand will be Scrap Exchange (a co-sponsor) along with the Durham Originals (co-sponsor) and Don’t Waste Durham (co-sponsor) plus tables including Fillaree, Keep Durham Beautiful, and CompostNow.

This is a significant chunk of your “need to be connected to” eco-chain in Durham. The matrix. The network. Service providers and knowledge providers.

courtesy of the Durham Originals

courtesy of the Durham Originals

Are you in this line of work? Educated in these fields?

Do you simply give a shit about the environment? Want to reduce your personal footprint? Get you kids on-board?

These are your local sustainability orgs. These are the people behind Durham’s Green To-Go container program.

Tomorrow night. 11/17, 5pm-8pm in Durham Central Park (with food trucks, Apparel Pop-up Shop, Director Q&A).

For cultural edification bonus points on Friday, walk across the lawn and up the hill to see Anna Barker who will be performing modern dance from Sunday Sites in response to Durham’s change and development in the skate park.


5pm Friday, 11/17, documentary screening of REUSE! a film by Alex Eaves. Enjoy food trucks, a reuse apparel popup shop, and a Q + A with the director himself. See why we get so jazzed about reusing! For more information about the film, visit

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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