Too busy to recycle
Is there and easy, quick and inexpensive way to recycle waste? Really?
The answer is yes and no. Which is not much of an answer.
I have a question for you - the question your mother must have asked twice a day: When are you going to clean up after yourself?
If given a choice, especially in childhood, we would have rather left the mess.
Cleaning up is:
- limits our creativity
- a waste of time that can otherwise be spent playing games
- or surfing
- or surfing the net
instead of putting away your "things" in boxes, taking dirty clother to the laundry, vacuming the floor or dusting the shelves.
You wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for your mother's nagging, bans on watching the tv or pocket money restrictions, would you?
Problem is, Mother Earth is starting to nag too. She's been rather patient for very long, a few hundred years precisely.
We have been piling crap on her, faster and faster. The last fifty years the level of both industrial and domestic waste has been growing exponentially.
Now she's been frowning a bit. Soon she may restrict our entertainment options. Or, if we don't get the message and don't clean up after ourselves, she will get really upset and she may smack our bottoms. It will hurt a lot.
We need to deeply understand global consequences of our individual actions, the actions of each of us: the immediate consequences of everyday living and very remote consequences that result from chains of actions that we are parts of.
We need to take responibility for every and all aspects of waste and pollution of the Earth.
It is equally important to properly recycle our everyday objects: organic waste to compost, paper for paper recycling, recycle metal and glass, as it is important to question and influence "remote" pollution that we either contribute to or is produced as a result of our demand for certain products or lifestyle choices.
For example, is it in Earth's best interest for people in Europe to be eating bananas from Chile or Australians to be eating American cherries? How much green footprint do these actions produce?
Do we need to update our mobile handset every year? Do we know and do we care how much carbon dioxide gets emitted to produce one such gadget? How much again to recycle it?
Do we really need to fly for all these intercontinental business trips? Each return flight between New York and London produces 1.3 tonnes of CO2. Try this fantastic Carbon Footprint Calculator.
Some things we cannot avoid. It would be rather unreasonable to expect of us to live like in the Stone Age.
But we must clean up after ourselves. If I've made a mess of 5 tonnes of CO2, now I need to make up for it by spending my time and resources on actions that will rectify it. Like planting forests or supporting green solutions that make sense.
We need to take full responsibility for our actions, and we need to influence others to act responsibly too.
The point is not in going back to pre-industrial era. This is not possible and not expected. For one, I myself could not live without the internet.
The point is that we all need to find and engage solutions that will either recycle what we manufacture and consume, or we will find new technologies and solutions that produce less waste and consume less energy and water. Green solutions end to end.