Friday, September 16, 2011

Wastemindedness and Australians

Human waste is a major problem in the 21st century.  Across human history we haven't been too fussed about where we have disposed of the waste of our daily lives and work.  After thousands of years, particularly the last few hundred since the industrial revolution, our history is catching up with us in the form of our detritus.

Waste is costing us money.  Waste is despoiling our environment and exposing ugly corporate practices. Waste is destroying health and causing us to leave our homes.

Waste has been and always will be with us.  Pre-industrial societies produced waste and our discovery of their waste informs our knowledge of them.

Aboriginal shellfish midden - Stradbroke Island, Queensland.

Modern society is producing masses of waste due to large populations, intensive consumption and highly manufactured products.  We are not only producing waste that is hard to dispose of because of its quantity.  We are producing waste that is dangerous to health because of the sophistication of manufactured products and the materials used in that manufacture.  We are aware of this - because we are very keen on sending that waste somewhere else.  

Humanity - and that includes my countryfolk in Australia - is living in cloud cuckoo land with regard to waste.  We are killing everything we rely upon for a good life: our own health; our own environment; our own water and air. Australia has not faced the music on the waste-front yet.  It is certainly not demonstrating that it is prepared to pay the piper - in fact, face the real cost of living in the form of the cost of waste.  

The light is dawning for some.  These are the people who are curtailing their consumption; living simply; purchasing ethically; mindful of how they dispose of possessions.  These are thoughtful, reflective steps - but they are small ones being made by small numbers of people.  Waste-mindedness has not infected the whole of Australia - yet.  Waste-mindedness has not yet hit the mainstream of Australia.  It is high time it did.

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