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[GreenYes] Re: Fwd: solid waste call for papers

At 10:44 PM 6/3/2008, Dan Knapp wrote:
But for me it raises a question:  what's Green about waste?  This Solid Waste symposium in its call for papers uses the word waste 16 times in its long list of suggested topics.  That's really quite a drumbeat.

How about using the word discards?  Unlike wastes, discards can be wasted or conserved.  That neutral word is never once used in the conference agenda. 

I think I sent the link to an article I wrote about NYC leaving waste and production impacts entirely out of NYC's carbon footprint for the Gotham Gazette, a month or two ago, where I used the term discards quite a bit (or at least in my first unedited version to Sustainability Watch and the GG). 

I didn't write the call for papers or prepare the agenda, but I have sent your comments along to the person who does.  There have been plenty of papers from people like me that fall well into the purview of zero waste and we have been giving papers like that at this venue for at least 15 years.  Because they don't use the same language is not as important.  Recycling and waste prevention are still just that.  You should know that the vast majority of papers given at this conference are from third world countries.

So all discards are wastes.  I conclude there is not much room for clean recycling (or recyclers) at this conference.

Are you saying that unless a conference is a 100% zero waste conference that there is no room for waste prevention, recycling and composting at the conference?   Even in this country, most of the states are way behind California.  I'm surprised anyone would put down a conference that does have sessions on upper hierarchy topics.  In the East (and many places, actually), when they hold solid waste conferences, they call them that even if zero waste topics are on the agenda.  If lower hierarchy methods were to be excluded, and all those sessions and attendees disappeared, I have a feeling the economics of the conference would not work and there would be no conference. 

I know that in California you can make a zero waste conference work.  And we had one in NYC once.  I attended the one on April 1 in Oakland.  But I think it's better to enlighten people who attend about advanced topics in our arena, even if only part of the agenda for the conference covers it.  All or nothing won't work everywhere.   Yet.  If those who have the enlightened information withhold it from those who don't, how will we ever progress?

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
John F. Kennedy

Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist, Educator
New York City

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