Tuesday, September 16, 2008

“Zeroing” Trash … and Connections to Injustice, Discrimination, Disfranchisement, … ?

Through a collaborative city government-business effort, a few recycling containers have been placed at Wal-Mart* (one day a week from 8-noon), and near the rodeo grounds (6 days a week from 8-5, or noon) in our community of Seguin. And as a result of this limited initiative--triggered by public pressure from students and other citizens of Seguin--there may be reduced trash, more reusing of discarded material, and an increase in recycling??

However, I’m not so sure! I’m not certain because there’s been no comprehensive/intensive baseline study of trash flow prior to our limited community effort, and of what the flow is now.

In my own case, a “recyclable-trash to a recycling-conduit” has not changed, i.e., recyclables from our household and farm, etc. continue to head to a recycling system, as it did before our small public effort here in Seguin. However, I am probably expending more fossil energy now than I did before our current options.

Before the Wal-Mart*/Rodeo Grounds options, I loaded up our paper other than newspaper (We do have numerous bins in Seguin for recycling newspaper--and of course various sites which purchase aluminum.), plastics and metal containers, etc. in my pickup prior to scheduled/weekly trips to Medina County or Hays County to assist my daughter, mother or mother-in-law with various weekly projects. I would then place our recyclables in my mother’s or daughter’s recycling-containers and -sites … since Devine and San Marcos have recycling efforts and educational campaigns which are truly functioning, dynamic, and developing.

With just a bit of creative and progressive socio-political/economic thinking, we in Seguin could have a robust, low-cost educational and “Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle”-system that would rival Devine, San Marcos, San Antonio, Austin or even Boulder County, Colorado www.govpro.com/News/Article/75549/ www.gazette.net/stories/061208/frednew175811_32364.shtml www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/other_waste_orgs.php .
(My friend Roland James has suggested several creative and innovative low-cost approaches to reducing, reusing and recycling waste in Seguin in emails and letters to public officials and news media, etc..)

Moreover, with some critical and creative community-thinking, those who are less fortunate than I**—who really have to struggle to make ends meet and have no real time to recycle under the current system, or even vehicles to carry recyclables to the “center” and east side of our city —could be afforded a curbside recycling service at no additional cost (or even a reduced rate) relative to what they are now paying! (Chew on this a bit—and see if you think this might relate to my title of this piece??)

In addition, we could build on a relatively conventional curbside recycling program and take it to another level which could help to remove the socio-economic burden off of the really poor in Seguin—and other parts of the world (We must help some of the truly poor out of forced existence in a squalor of trash, which includes toxic computer/information technology-age parts!) —and provide them with: increased quality educational opportunities (including about reducing trash flow, protection of the natural resource base, and ethical use of energy, and connections of these areas with preventative/comprehensive health care), empowerment , and needed resources.

Every community needs to do critical and creative collective-thinking and work hard toward zero waste/trash!

Our Seguin community particularly needs this!!***

It would carry us a long way toward reducing consumption of the precious natural resource base and reducing our ecological footprint!

And even more important is the fact that--if the socio-political/economic system dealing with trash flow were approached in sustainably**** holistic, ecologically-sound way--it could reduce exploitation of the poor, and disenfranchised and relatively powerless, and help us get on a stable route away from injustice, discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance!!

*Wal-Mart supports the “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive consumption (and supports Bush's Republican Party www.brandcurve.com/wal-mart-encourages-employees-to-vote-republican/ www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_584448.html ), and is not de facto a real promoter of “Reduce/Reuse/Recycle”.

**And not as “blessed” with reliable transport/resources/time/power as others who recycle under the current system in Seguin.

***In a Power-Point presentation at TLU in 2007, I suggested this effort might be termed Toward Reducing and Abolishing a Spoiled Habitat (Zero Trash-- and a Clean Sustainable Seguin).

****Sustainable communities are “ecologically sound, socially just and humane”! Terry Gips, 1986 www.pdap.net/files/Proposed%20Philippine%20Organic%20Aagriculture%20Roadmap.pdf

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