Garbology

The review that was posted to my individual blog instead of the class one:

Humes doesn’t mince his words and doesn’t skirt around the problem that America has a problem with trash. In fact he  encourages that our trash problem be thrust out into the open and examined, sorted through, and  really get to the bottom of why in the first place do we generate so much garbage.

I think the most illustrative example of the amount of trash that we generate is laid out when Humes brings up hoarders and their lifestyle.  It’s always kind of a joke when someone holds on to things or tends to not throw things away until they purge but examining the lives of people who just don’t throw out their junk is captivating which explains why there is an entire TV show about it.  The important part about this is yes those people have some underlying issue but if an average person were to keep the trash they generated they’re only that small step away from being featured on that show.  It is socially acceptable to generate however much trash you want but it is not (and for good reason) to keep it.

The 102 Ton Legacy and how we handle trash:

Humes really gets to the idea of how the US and other countries deal with garbage by using commercial, historical and environmental viewpoints.  Trash is something that the ancient Greeks started dealing with when they created the first dumps and the Romans would follow moving trash from their streets using their sewage systems.  Animals like pigs have even been used to help clear garbage.  Trash has been burned, buried, and shipped in order to create some kind of order to the waste that we create.  Humes really centers these ideas of the 102 ton legacy on the costs of it, how can we be so unaware that we are creating this and how to fix it.  Our society is one that is quite unique in that we have such an abundance of well everything that we can afford to not use everything to its completion.  Fortunately there are some kinds of alternative although to me they don’t seem practically sustainable since the root of the trash isn’t being addressed.  People in places like Florida and Oregon have taken to composting, recycling and then burning trash to reduce their impact.  Other countries around the world have made the trash epidemic long term goals to deal with.

johnson-county-landfill-in-shawnee-ks-is-the-largest-in-the-midwest-us-at-over-1000-acres.jpgI have visited quite a few dumps and every time I go I’m always amazed at how industrialized the process is, how grand of a scale it is. Just the immense size of landfills are incredible.  I really realized this when we spent about half an hour driving from one side of a landfill to the other side while I was in North Dakota.   Most people don’t contemplate where their garbage goes and I think it is one of the cases where once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. It’s as if once the garbage collectors come and pick up the trash it is magically removed and has no further impact on someone’s life.

 

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