Americans make more trash than anyone else on the planet, throwing away about 7.1 pounds per person per day, 365 days a year. Across a lifetime that rate means, on average, we are each on track to generate 102 tons of trash.” (5)
102 tons ~ 17 male African elephants
“[Big Mike] and his colleagues dump, push, carve and build a pinnacle of trash where once there were canyons. He is king of a mountain built of old tricycles and bent board games, yellowed newspapers and bulging plastic bags, sewage sludge and construction debris–all the detritus, discards and once valuable tokens of modern life and wealth, reduced to an amorphous, dense amalgam known as ‘fill'” (20-1)
“The rise of places like Puente Hills turned garbage from an ugly canker staring everyone in the face into a nearly invisible tumor, so easy to forget even as it swelled beneath the surface.” (64)
David Steiner: “Landfills are amazing resources. They’re not just holes filled with trash. They’re not the problem. They’re part of the solution” (83). Thoughts?
Steiner “loves the potential $10 billion in new revenues WMI could earn if it could capture the true value of the materials locked inside the trash his company collects and buries every year” (90)
“At the time, the citizens who opposed the plans for Puente Hills had said they weren’t necessarily against waste-to-energy ‘done right.’ They just thought it should be done in some remote location, far away from the city–away from their homes” (100).
“Even charging below-market rates, Puente Hills took in more money than it could spend. By 2011, it had salted away a quarter billion dollars to pay for the next trash solution in Los Angeles. …There was even enough income to skim one dollar from every ton of earnings and designate it for preserving wildlands next to the landfill. No other active landfill in the country has nearly four thousand contiguous acres of hiking trails, parkland and wildlife preserve abutting a massive garbage mountain” (101).
very interesting juxtaposition; the funds that people pay to dump their waste goes to preserving nature
page 114; “oceanographers who followed the courses of twenty-eight thousand plastic bath toys… that were washed overboard from a cargo vessel during a storm in 1992”
Charles Moore’s “conviction that cleanup is bullshit” versus Mary Crowley’s “ultimate goal… to combine garbage-patch research with the hunt for safe methods to extract the plastic waste from the seas”
Are Crowley’s endeavors futile? Can the actions of one person or group in this situation be enough to make an impact?
Is it better to focus on “changing the way we live, removing disposable plastic from our daily lives”? Moore says, “Shut off the supply… and maybe the ocean can begin to heal” (118). Do you agree with this?
Did anyone catch where Crowley puts the trash that she fishes out of the ocean?
“Plastic conquered the world because, early on, the chemical and manufacturing industries championed it as the miracle substance that would free humanity from the tyranny of nature” (137)b
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A blog for Geography 360:
Ohio Wesleyan University