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Friday, March 26, 2010

consumption



When I went to clean up a room for a new flatmate moving in, and began hauling out peoples left behind and forgotten stuff, it definitely made me aware of how much 'stuff' I have. In a way I almost feel guilty. After thinking of various reasons like: it's just our consumeristic society, I'm not that bad compared to the people that make it... what!? I think some of that reasoning is sometimes a way to try and escape guilt, which is not really helpful at all, but it's a start.
Honesty is helpful. Awareness is helpful. Knowledge is helpful.
When we are able to see how much rubbish we are making, through uninformed purchases of more stuff, with more fancy packaging, then we can start to realise our actions have some room for improvement.

So once this awareness of a problem has increased, I (and probably most) search for alternatives.
There is a probelm with the sustainability of the earths resources but how do we address it, what are the possible solutions, how can 'I' start living more sustainably? Like the question states, living sustainably is about not trying to change others but ourselves. It is an extension of the Permaculture imperative of "going home and gardening"; taking care of our own back yards first (Mollison 1988).

Here's a good site I found with some practical steps toward a more sustainable existence. sustainability.govt.nz

The term sustainability still seems very vague and I found an interesting desciption I think is on the right track and describes it as an important but unfocused concept like "liberty" or "justice". Blewitt, J. (2008). Because at the moment I'm beginning to think sustainability is something that will constantly need to be re-defined as we change and challenge our way of life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

early thoughts


I started recycling milk bottles at primary school, 20 years ago, sure it was good to get an idea about re-using toxic materials but it didn't encourage me to question why milk had to be stored in this non-biodegradable material, or why I buy products which I will only use for a very short period of time yet which will remain somewhere on this planet for eternity. Maybe thoughts like these are well beyond a primary aged school kid in little NZ, but why does it seem they are still beyond most people who are now recycling most products from their household waste every week?
We put it in the bin, someone collects it and takes it away. We put it in the bin, someone collects it and takes it away. I doesn't require anymore thought... or maybe it does, I heard someone put it this way: Have you ever later in the day thought to youself, I hope my rubbish made it There safely? Where is There? And how many There's are there? What do they do with it when it gets There? Does every town have a There? Can the people who live next to the There, smell the There? Are there laws about how many There's a town can have? Is there a point at which a There is full? How is this determined? Can the people who run the There's give us a percentage of how full their There is? Do they get together and discuss these sorts of things with other people who own There's?
This helps hightlight a disconnection and removal from what happens when we put something in the bin. After camping last weekend at Great Barrier and having to remove all our rubbish really made me think about how much stuff we pointlessly throw out, and if people had to be accountable for their own waste how different would we live, would products with less packaging suddenly become even more desirable?
For anyone in Auckland wanting to know what they should be putting in their recycle bin click here