Garbology Notes

This book sheds light on an issue that is normally swept aside. Literally. It was an interesting book, and focused on aspects of everyday life that I had no considered before. I like non-fiction that turns our lifestyle on its side and makes us think. Living consciously is something that I strive for. However, my personal experience has found that our society and how our country is set up makes it impossible to do so. This impossibility was supported by the e-waste lecture on monday. The lecturer pointed out that even if we recycle products in our home, household waste only accounts for 3% of the total waste in the U.S. In contrast, industrial waste accounts for up to 90% Even if we recycle, by purchasing the product in the first place we have already contributed to 90% of the total waste in the country. We perpetuate the problem before we have a chance to do anything about it. The more we read in this class the more I find that this is true. Anything that we can do on the individual level is functionally useless. True change comes at the legislative level. BUT. our legislators are corrupt and in the industry’s pocket. The whole paradox is maddening.

This book explores diverse perspectives on trash. It discusses hoarding, the history of our disposable culture, how trash is managed and disposed, and much more. Something that I have always been interested in is if how we treat our material goods affects how we manage our human relationships. Has our disposable culture caused us to dispose people? There was a meme trending a while ago that depicts two elderly people who had been married for 65 Upon being asked how they managed to stay together for so long, the lady responded “We were born in time where if something was broken we would fix it.”

I think most people would agree with that sentiment. However, in this class we have discussed the repercussions of such social change. IF everyone stopped using paper plates an easily replaceable paper products, what happens to the paper companies? The workers? There seems to be no inherently ‘right’ thing to do. Just what you think is ‘more’ right. The paradox continues.

Do we ‘hoard’ trash? If a extra-terrestial sentient alien came down to earth and looked at the U.S., would they diagnose it with hoarding disorder? We throw out significantly more trash per capita than other developed countries. A crap ton more when compared to indigenous peoples. Maybe we have narcissism. We think that we have an inherent right to our extreme purchasing.  We have a right to luxuries, like not doing dishes. Throw away paper plates are our right to a better lifestyle. Is it? I do not believe so. I would like to see a shift in the U.S. psyche from rights to responsibility. We have a responsibility to our society, environment, community etc. We have a responsibility to lessen our negative impacts on other countries and the environment, including how we manage our waste. We have a responsibility to not support slave or child labor. Will this change happen? I highly doubt it. What do we have? “Not in my backyard.” A mindset focused on responsibility isgarbology something I like to live by though. However, as stated earlier. The individuals actions have an air of meaningless. The paradox continues. I digress.

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