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Trash All Around Us
Journalist Heather Roger's 2005 book GONE TOMORROW: THE HIDDEN LIFE OF GARBAGE is a fascinating, painful and angering read. The issues of waste and pollution it raises are beyond individuals' control. With many examples of industry and government collusion the reader feels powerless. She establishes that we need to change, to question the status quo, and I agree.
How did we get to this point? Her book is a history as well, explaining with details and synthesis. She begins roughly 200 years ago when the idea of garbage was invented. Since then sanitation, incineration, packaging, plastics, have brought us to this time when the average American creates 4-1/2 pounds of trash each day - trash removed as quickly as possible from our sights, trash that ends up in a mega landfill.
What's especially troubling is there do not seem to be many answers. In the final chapter she writes of small groups and individual efforts but they are out of the mainstream, on the fringe. So, few how-to specifics are offered. I suppose there are other books and web sites for that. The value of this book is the big picture it provides.
I believe it is important to think about this ever-present aspect of our lives, to keep learning and to take action individually where possible.
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© Gary Shea 2007-2011