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[GreenYes] The Social Value of Waste and Practical Waste Visionaries
Just some late night thoughts on waste...

I recently saw a mortgage company advertisement 
on television extolling the 'virtues' of waste.

Scene: Smiling guy liesurely strolls through various rooms
turning on lights. Cut to view of house at twilight 
outside where we see all windows are lit. Cut to
interior front foyer, last light being turned on as guy dials
his cordless phone. Phone rings.

Guy: "Hello, Mom? I'd like you to let Dad know
that I've got every light in the house on."

Cut to front stoop. Front door opens wide - remains
open. Guy steps outside onto stoop with wide grin.
Guy: "I'd also like him to know that I'm airconditioning
the entire neighborhood as well."

The ad continues on about how to get a
loan for your own new home.

Flouting parental rules in a bid for independence
might have included such things as not wearing shoes, 
shouting at the top of your lungs, jumping up and 
down on furniture, running with scissors -- 
any number of behaviors. But these things seem 
tame in comparison to the ones that hit us in the wallet.
It can seem deliciously sinful, in the eyes of the new homeowner,
to be able to light-heartedly taunt your parents
about their rules from your own house by doing
the most wasteful thing you can think of.

We know it's wrong, but we seem to place a positive social
value on some kinds of wasteful extravagance.
So, how do we turn today's waste memes upside down?

"Sustainability: Think Garbage is Garbage? Think again!"
http://www.earthtimes.org/aug/sustainabilitythinkaug25_02.htm
by Pamela Hartigan shows examples of what she
calls 'Social Entreprenuers' who are trying to change
current memes like our penchant for extravagant waste. 
What's interesting to me is that I didn't
have to go to South Africa or Bangladesh to actually 
get acquainted with a social entreprenuer. One
exists right where I live in Athens, Georgia.

Mark McConnell, a self-styled 'bioneer' as he calls himself,
http://www.creativeearth.net/
has an organics-to-compost operation similar to that of
the one in Hartigan's Johannesburg Summit article. He's gotten
a permit but cannot seem to persuade the state to *license* him
as one of only three licensed organic-matter recycleables handlers in GA.
One of the things that Hartigan doesn't express clearly in her article
is the monetary and personal prices these practical visionaries can
sometimes pay by doing what to some may seem like
tilting at windmills. McConnell says that when he picks up compostables
at local businesses, they all rally behind him and say they feel good
about doing something earth-positive -- putting less into landfills. 
Mark is currently pursuing 501c3 status.


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