THE THROWAWAY SOCIETY
Our society faces some problems! One of the biggest is the amount of waste we produce. Our landscape is overflowing with “waste”. What is waste ? Websters defines waste as (1) using, consuming, or expending thoughtlessly or (2) causing to lose energy, strength or vigor. I’d like to offer one more definition– waste is an unused resource.
The waste which fills our dumpsters and our lives is actually quite valuable. I know a man who collected peoples “trash” from alleyways in Los Angeles for five years, storing it in a building which was slated for destruction. When LA finally decided to tear down the building he sold all of his “waste” for over a million dollars! Another friend rescued two hydraulic tools from a dumpster and sold them for nearly $72,000 dollars! On a much smaller scale, I personally have pulled blown amps and old computers from dumpsters and sold them for $100 or more.
The point is, there is enough “waste” in the dumpsters of America to feed, clothe, house, and educate everyone. Why does it happen?
After W.W.II, our wartime factories converted to civilian production, suddenly there was more than we could use. A new society was born. “The throwaway society.” The throwaway society provided maximum employment and plenty of goods and services. Americans had more available through gainful employment and massive production. The key was keeping people spending by creating incentives to buy “new, bigger, better” products instead of keeping trusted ones. We introduced the concept of planned obsolescence.
Some of the drawbacks of “the throwaway society” ? Consumer debt is at an all time high and instead of working less, we’re working more. A family with one income used to be able to own a home, raise children, and enjoy some time at home. Now, it is all we can do to have two incomes pay for a rental home, raise one child, and keep food on the table. Another drawback is obvious, the environment. Look around, anywhere…..
Here’s the key, think about the value of what you’re throwing away….is it trash or is it an unused resource….you wouldn’t throw away cash, would you?
Send your hatemail to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to know more about “waste” and how we can profit from it check out www.gaiasopht.org .
Michael Pilarski and Friends of the Trees
Michael Pilarski is taking action to save the worlds forests.
Inspired by Richard St. Brubaker, who promoted tree planting internationally;
Pilarski helped found Friends of the Trees Society (FOTS) in 1978. FOTS mission is to
double the worlds forests, inspire, enable, educate, and assist people to live in harmony
with forests and trees, and publish positive visions of a sustainable world with strategies
to get there.
Rather than just sound the alarm about threats to the environment, FOTS emphasizes
“We are a part of the pro-active wing, we have solutions,” Pilarski said.
FOTS operates at local, regional, national, and international levels. They have
distributed over 170,000 seedlings, thousands of seed packets, and sponsored events
which have brought information to thousands of people. Currently they have over 10,000
people on their mailing list. FOTS and Pilarski have played a huge part in forming the
Bellingham Permaculture Club which combines practices of urban and rural
sustainability and meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.
into an overall system of agriculture and living which has a minimum negative effect on
the planet. FOTS has also created The Travelers Repair Network (TERN) which links
travelers with individuals and organizations in other countries around the world who are
involved in sustainability.
Is Pilarski satisfied with FOTS progress so far?
“Heavens no, the world is heading hell bent for disaster, but the good news is – more
people are aware we’re heading there.”
Pilarski offers some everyday steps people can follow to help save the planet:
plant trees , look for ways to reduce consumption of the earth’s resources, and support
the restoration of nature.
” At Friends of the Trees, we believe in multiple functions for single elements, in other words, one person can do more than one thing at a time.”
“Friends of the Trees is not a radical group,” Pilarski said , “We’re not into extreme
action, we’re into promoting non-violence and less consumption.”
In addition to founding FOTS , Pilarski has edited Restoration Forestry: an
International Guide to Sustainable Forestry Practices and compiled The Third
World Resource Guide with Michael G. Smith.
Currently FOTS is sponsoring workshops on gathering local herbs and edible wild
plants without damaging the environment on the eastern and western slopes of the North
Cascades as well as the Puget Sound lowlands. On August 16 and 17, FOTS, The
Herbalist (Seattle) and Wonderland Tea and Spices (Bellingham) sponsored The
Northwest Herbal Fair at the River Farm near Bellingham. This event’s focus was
showing people how to use local herbs in their lives. For more information on Friends of
the Trees, Permaculture, or current events in sustainability contact Friends of the Trees
Society at (360)738-4972.