Thursday, August 6, 2020

Future Fridays: Trash!

When we moved to Nicaragua over 26 years ago, I was struck by how often women cleaned their floors in their little houses.  If it was a dirt floor, they would sweep it ten times a day or more; concrete or tiled, then it was damp mopped six to eight times a day.  And the dirt or trash would be swept outside the doors.  Then at least once a day, the yard would be swept... yes, swept... undergrowth and grass hides insects like scorpions and snakes.  The trash from the yard would be swept into the streets.

Moving trash from one area to another to another baffled me who grew up with Lady Bird Johnson's campaign to stop littering.  

As I continue to learn more and more about climate change and our environment, I realize that we all do this world-over... we create our trash and move it from one place to another.  

Maybe to a recycling area... most probably the dump.  And our food trash goes into the dump.  And what happens at the dump? The trash gets rolled into the earth even though much of it will not degrade in any reasonable length of time.

Our First World society deals with trash like the Nicaraguan women... we move it out of our personal space to a public space.  If the public space cannot take it, then we find some where else to dump.

Unfortunately, so much of it goes into the ocean.  The Pacific Ocean has a floating "island" of plastic twice the size of Texas and growing!  Life comes from the oceans... remember?

Ocean garbage - photo: Shutterstock licensed

The difference between us and those Nicaraguan poor women of 1994 is that we create way more trash than they EVER did.

The only way to deal with our trash is to not create so much.  Reusing jars and tubs and bottles.  Demanding that more food and beverage items come in reusable containers.  Recycling is good but reusing is much better.  Composting food to lower trash in dumps and reduce methane gas is good.  Eating less perfect food and more leftovers is better.  

One way to start is to buy a smaller trash can and take more days to fill it up.  Make a competition about how little trash you can create.  Hang a photo of the world's beautiful blue and green above your trash can.  We can do it.  I know we can... and will.

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