February 2008


Maybe that’s a silly question, because these days it would be hard to find someone who didn’t think recycling was a good idea. Taking something made for one purpose and finding a way to reuse it or its materials for another purpose once its original purpose is fulfilled, well that just seems like common sense. In and of itself, it is efficient, and to do otherwise seems wasteful.

Continuing the line of thinking from my last post, where I suggest the idea that making sustainable choices is essentially considering the well-being of future generations, recycling seems to take on a bit of a nobler, higher purpose than merely being efficient. I have to confess that when I dump all our paper, cardboard, glass, and number-one-and-two plastics in the big blue recycling can the city provides for us, I’m not thinking to myself ‘This is something I do out of love for my kids and their kids.’ But you know, maybe I should. Because if I didn’t, and I just tossed everything in the big green can for trash, I’m basically contributing to the problem of waste management… eventually all that trash has to be dealt with by somebody, and an awful lot of the consequences wind up in the laps of our kids.

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It’s a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot these days. So I decided to find out what it actually means, cos you know, I’m a word guy, right?

Some definitions that came up when I Googled the term:

  • The characteristic of being able to coexist with another system indefinitely, without either system being damaged.
  • The use of ecosystems and their resources in a manner that satisfies current needs without compromising the needs or options of future generations.
  • Sustainable development: The concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The definition that I had formed in my head using merely how I hear it used has been a fuzzy sort of ‘Living in a way that allows you to get along materially without ruining the planet in the process.’

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