The more insidious problem we face is the encouragement from the very top to consume, consume, consume. Anyone remember George W. Bush’s idea to improve the national mood after 9/11, and later to get us out of the recession? Go out and spend. Obama has said much the same thing about the financial problems the country is facing today.
Humes also talks about the big profits, and government encouragement for the common, yet obviously un-sustainable policy of just burying our trash in landfills. Seriously, how long does anyone think that can go on? He talks about methods of converting much of what is thrown out into fuels, but various interests have blocked this type of sensible alternative for their own reasons.
There is a case study of a family who are so serious about reducing their trash that they have found other uses for practically all of it. By recycling, repurposing, given things away, or composting, their yearly output fits in a single mason jar. I’m not sure the rest of us are capable of going that far, but it makes for a hell of a benchmark to work towards.
Garbology is a well-written look at the very real problems we face in disposing of our waste. The misguided policies and basic avoidance of the problem do not make the situation go away. This is a book with some very valuable alternatives for us to consider in (at least) reducing the amount of trash we dispose of. Even in a consumption-based society, creating as much garbage as possible is not our patriotic duty. If every parent truly wants to leave a better world for their children, we are not doing a very good job of it.
If my words sound condescending, I apologize. It is hard for me not to get on my high horse with this subject. Thankfully, Edward Humes never falls into this all too common trap. In Garbology, the author takes a sober look at a very serious threat to our world, but he does so in an extremely inviting style. Celebrate Earth Day with the purchase of his book, then pass it along to a friend. His publisher may not appreciate this little piece of advice, but I have a feeling Humes would.