28 Sep 2008

Rejecting the abomination of garbage

Just back from seeing 'Wall-E' with my kids at Bracknell Odeon...the fat corporation owns the cosmos and they have trashed our home planet.

Would recycling prevent this? Some radical green voices argue that recycling is not enough, a reformist solution...dug this out from US Green mag Synthesis/Regeneration.

I think greens need to be thinking hard and while I think socialism is necessary to ecosocialism, the left often just paint themselves green rather than engaging in fundamental debate.

Recycling leaves the garbage problem untouched in the same way that energy efficiency leaves our energy policies and practices unaddressed. When I screw in an efficient light bulb, I am glad to be using less electricity to illuminate my writing desk, but I don't fool myself that I'm saving the planet. I know that my act frees up more kilowatt-hours to be sold at rock-bottom rates to corporations that manufacture throw-away frou-frou or fashion statement cars. Similarly, when we dutifully recycle metal (and I do so, when possible), we help manufacturers save energy and increase their profit margins.

However, we do nothing to alter the monstrous system that lavishes incentives on production of waste. Adding a nasty re-refining process (and calling it recycling) to a nasty mining process does not get us out of our tragic loop: wreaking havoc so that we can "grow" the economy at a dizzying and unsustainable level. This is the lesson I take from Paul Palmer's heartening work. In his own words,

The basic problem that has always plagued recycling is that it accepts garbage creation as fundamental. Zero waste strategies reject garbage creation as a failure, actually an abomination that threatens the planet ..." [30]

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