If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Am I just a fuddy-duddy?

As I post my blog and comment on other blogs like No Impact Man, some have stated that perhaps I and many others like me are just against progress and should lighten up a little. They are entitled to their opinion but I think they are wrong.

For one thing I am far from being a fuddy-duddy I guess I just have a different definition of progress now. I've perhaps seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it is a freight train headed straight for me and I have nowhere to go. It is a little scary what is happening to the world we live in.

Some seem to feel we must continue our inexorable march toward a better freedom through chemicals and technology. Trust me, I was in that camp with you at one point too. I understand. I wanted the best and the latest. I used things up and then just threw them away without a thought. Out of sight, out of mind, not my problem anymore. But we have been betrayed. It is rapidly becoming the problem of all of us. You can only sweep stuff under the rug so long before the rug begins to become lumpy. We clean our houses but pollute the rest of our world. If you just throw your garbage over the fence into your neighbors yard have you truly cleaned up? But this is how we all live. It's just that our neighbor happens to be a third world country with lax e-laws.

I am a child of the fifties. I remember the world that existed then. The world we have now is not better than the one I knew then. Even though we have so many conveniences. There were no PC's, no laptops, no cell phones, no palm pilots, no...oh, another list. Sorry.

I have no quarrel with those that say technology has improved our output and productivity. It has. But that is part of the problem. We can now produce goods so fast, so cheap and so easily they have lost any value. We now have huge piles of waste as the technologically fragile machines we produce wear out quickly. How many cell phones have you gone through? I've been through a bunch. Ever seen a farm using an old Massey-Ferguson built in the forties? That stuff was built to last and money was made on parts, not new machines. Imagine that...parts!

Technology has also reduced a good percentage of the workforce to button pushing slaves. Well, actually forget about the workforce part, I guess I check myself out at the store now. Swipe, swipe, swipe, slide, push, whir, receipt prints "Have a nice day and thank you for shopping at Wal-E-World. Come again soon and help us keep up our bottom line. It's the patriotic thing to do. Made in China." Then we whisk our treasures out the door, which rapidly fade and become new waste.

Is this really the world we want? I don't. I read the book "Better Off" recently about a couple that goes to live with the Amish to learn their simple ways. Great book, there is a link for it over to the left. I must tell you though that is not really my goal, to hitch up a horse to my buggy and ride into town. I do admire their simplicity and simplicity is what it is all about but I don't really need to go back to the stone age to be simple or live like the Amish. All I really need to do is be aware of my own waste stream and be aware how I consume.

The easiest way to become aware of your waste stream is to end the one can system in your house. I have about ten receptacles for garbage now. Paper, recyclable plastic containers, cans, aseptic containers, batteries, plastic bags and film, e-waste, electronic media (tapes, CD's etc.) cardboard, green waste (vege scraps) and then everything else goes in a can that goes to the landfill. My original idea behind this was just to recycle. However it also had the effect of making me realize what I do to produce waste. I can now attack each one of these individually and find solutions to produce less waste, the goal being, no waste at all. It is a challenge but a good challenge can be fun.

Is that being a retroist fuddy-duddy? Call me what you want. To me it is just being responsible and that is something I can be proud of. Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order.

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