Talking Rubbish Blog

As many people in the ‘environment’ care and concern area relentlessly  remind us;- we need to consume less, curtail our wasteful ways and generally reduce our indulgent lifestyles.

It comes from all directions, we should, eat less, exercise more, buy less stuff, use public transport more, ride to work (at least once a week..), watch less TV, not use plastic bags…. it’s endless and overwhelming.
 Because the changes are couched in terms of reduction, frugality, minimal impact and sacrifice they may be difficult to sustain and make us resentful we are missing out on the great bus ride of acquisition. How can we turn this around to be a desired and fruitful way to live to and develop a growth industry?

To establish a new way of doing things by consuming less resources, keep a growing economy and maintaining social contentment, looks tricky . Let’s look at the possible low hanging fruit.

1.    ‘Waste:’ As someone said to me confidentially once – ‘waste is only that until someone finds a market for it’. And just look around, we have potential market product everywhere –spoilt food, wood, manures, plastics, packaging, clothing, bedding etc. We need imagination, communication and cooperation to turn expensive waste material into useful product for resale.

2.    ‘Building community not mansions:’ Sometimes in our work we can feel as though we have become separated from each other and a like-minded purpose for the job. Management is distant and costs are the bottom line. The jobs are big but the relationships and sense of common purpose are not. There is a rising movement called ‘collaborative consumption’ where those who have skills, time or tools connect to those who need a job done. The person fits the jobs available and they find each other through a number of on-line sites.

3.    ‘Earth friendly employment’: Thanks to the revelations of researchers such as Rachel Carson (‘Silent Spring’) who joined the dots of the dramatic destructive effects of many chemical pesticides, we no longer use chemicals such as DDT and malathion.  William O’Donough and Michael Braungart’s book, ‘Cradle to Cradle’ details the critical necessity to design all products so they can be used easily forever. So textiles for example, would be organic with harmless dyes easily able to be composted if any waste material is generated in the manufacturing. O’Donough says ‘waste is food’. There is no toxic by product we need to spend dollars to eliminate or make safe, indeed the ‘waste’ becomes a saleable product!

4.    ‘Low-resource using work’. Mother Theresa once said of Australians, that we ‘have a poverty of relationships’. The fluffy end of organisations and local government is often the community development department. If we take up the challenge and grow employment areas in outdoor sport, creative arts, comedy, festivals and family support we can start to produce a healthy community.  Surrounding many industries as possible in a new way of doing things is a conversation between colleagues, friends, neighbours, communities and businesses. What is possible and how can we make it happen? Herein can be another very important growth industry, in developing community.

Are we being idealistic or realistic?


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