I went to the recycling center yesterday. I'm actually pretty happy with how my new apartment recycling efforts are going. When I lived with the roommates, we threw everything away, and any attempts I had to recycle were just sort of lost in the shuffle. There were weeks when our big dumpster wouldn't even close. I felt bad about that. Now in the apartment, I take a bag of trash out like once a week or so. Friday night when I had the party, that resulted in a bag of trash... but one, mind you, I've been at places where we spend the whole night compacting and bagging up trash. I used normal plates and glasses, not throw-away stuff, I had boxes out to recycle glass, aluminum, and cardboard. I felt good about it. And recycling still blows in wichita... there's no curbside anywhere, you can drop stuff off in grocery parking lots but they don't take glass, the recycling center where you can take anything is only open from 9-3 on Saturdays. But so far it's worth it. A guy in my office is one of those conspiracy theorists who says recycling takes more energy than making new stuff so we should throw everything away and stop buying into the touchy-feely bullshit, but for a lot of things that's not true... from what I've read, glass and aluminum are almost always more efficient to recycle, and for other things like paper, if you consider the fact that the stuff you throw away is taking up space in a landfill forever, the cost of recycling doesn't look so bad. But he's a typical guy I work with who's sure he knows everything so I didn't start that whole debate.
also, nearly everyone I know who recycles is more generally aware of the packaging they consume and tries harder to reuse things and buy less overpackaged crap. because we know recycling isn't a magic wand, we know it uses energy, but just the act of looking at what you throw out makes you more aware. Progressive thinking feeds on things like that, all the time. Every single feminist I know is much more aware of race and socio-economic issues than every annoying "I'm an equalist" non-feminist... they love to point fingers and tell us we focus in on narrow issues, but in truth when you focus in on a narrow issue it makes you much better at seeing everything surrounding it. Whereas if you just look at the whole world and decide not to do anything for a specific cause because that would be too unequal, you end up just sitting on the couch every night. Personal experience talking here, I don't have hard facts to back it up, it's just how I feel.
Speaking of nebulous progressive movements, we watched Happy Feet and I hated it. The animation was sort of good but the plot was predictable and stupid, and all the characters were from, like, some CharacterMart they must have at hollywood. I picture these plastic boxes you can buy with "young rebelious different guy... as seen in Footloose!" and "fearful fundamentalist bad guy... includes deep male voice!" I checked it out on rottentomatoes and critics actually liked it which was weird because usually I agree with critics on movies.