Wasting the Earth away

I’ve begun to realise how much time I spend thinking about rubbish – literally. One of my very first posts on this blog was about the repercussions of our disposable lifestyles, such as the Pacific waste island. I’ve also talked about how much food and ‘stuff’ we waste in other posts.

I’ve always felt strongly about waste, especially the plastic variety, but I never grasped how much it was affecting me. I was brought up with the time-honoured “can’t leave the table until you’ve eaten everything on your plate” philosophy (I can clearly remember the nights I spent gagging over my pumpkin until long past bedtime). As a uni student, moving house was great – I had a legitimate excuse to throw out all the broken, useless things and unwanted gifts I had hoarded in the cupboards all year out of guilt. Continue reading

The Modern Nomad

Once upon a time, humans were nomadic.  Our belongings were limited to the skin wrapped around our hips, a weapon or tool or two, and maybe some animals, rugs or random pots thrown in too.  We roamed free through the forests and across the plains.  We didn’t have to be home by nightfall, we just slept under the stars, wherever we were.

Then we got sick of roaming and settled down, building walls around us to shut out the night…or shut ourselves in.  We began to collect things—furniture, clothes, books, pianos, fine china dishes, cushions and crystal glasses.  A home quickly changed from a safe place to pass the night and spend time with your family to a showroom of your life, full of advertisements of your wealth, status and style.  Furniture was once built to last generations, fine china dishes were family heirlooms and clothes came in two sets—Good and Everyday. Continue reading

All hail the Goddess Disposability!

I think our future holds a problem even more pressing than climate change—the burgeoning issue of waste disposal.

Since the invention of Convenience, disposable everything has become commonplace and it’s beginning to catch up with us.  Once upon a time, milk was delivered to the house and poured straight into your own milk jug.  Store bought books and clothes were wrapped in cloth or newspaper to be carried home.  Food was bought from markets and put directly into your basket or wooden box, sans plastic wrapping.

It worked.  It may not have been the most luxurious way of living, but it worked.  But someone decided that it wasn’t good enough for us, and the Goddess Disposability was born.

At first there was just plastic in all shapes and forms with some glass, cardboard and aluminium thrown in for good measure.  But then we stepped it up a notch.  Everything from food cans to aeroplanes couldn’t be manufactured without at least one ingredient that was toxic, immutable or just plain unfriendly.  Hence, we have a problem. Continue reading