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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Waste, garbage, refuse...

Toronto is in the midst of a civic workers’ strike. We won’t discus here who are to blame or where responsibility for this work stoppage lie, but many people do seem to be suffering. I’m not, I’m simply inconvenienced. But I’ve also learnt a few things from it.

There hasn’t been garbage pick-up in over four weeks. That’s what has caused my inconvenience. We’re double bagging, we’re storing our recycle goods and I’m trying to compost more. And it’s made me think. It’s made me look at my lifestyle and come to some uncomfortable realizations.

We have become a wasteful, over-consuming, uncomfortably high densely populated society.

We take no responsibility for the waste we create, for our over-indulgences or our excessive consumerism. What if there never was, ever again a garbage pick up in this city? What would we do with the excess of packaging we accumulate? The food we cook and do not eat? Or for that matter, the food we allow to partially rot in our fridges before tossing away?

Three generations ago we would never have even considered these questions. We would have simply disposed of our own refuse, garbage and waste. But where and how? In the street, the local park or ice rink? NO, on our own property: our back yards, our gardens; where we grew our vegetables and raised our livestock.

We no longer grow or raise our own food. But as consumers we create a greater amount of waste. And we don’t take responsibility for it. And now we are complaining that those we employ to, have neglected their responsibility. A job we, as tax payers, employ them to do; pay them.

As I have before, and will again, let’s separate the politics from this situation. Let’s not lay blame but look at ourselves. There is garbage to dispose of. And as individuals we should be capable of disposing of our own waste.

We should waste less; purchase only that which we are able to consume, and be capable of disposing of all our over indulgences.

Waste not, want not.

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