[GRRN] The problem with Recycling

Tue, 4 May 1999 19:54:02 EDT

The problem with recycling, from an environmentalist's point of view, is that
it is very energy and labor intensive with little "payback," other than the
feel-good factor of having done "something" for the Earth.

The problem is, it's not enough, and the Earth is only getting in more
trouble while too many people have focused on changing their waste disposal
habits , but not their *consumption* habits. Consumption has far more impact
on the environment than overflowing landfills (except perhaps in the
neighborhoods around those landfills).

Furthermore, the corporate interests that profit off these over-consumers
have effectively joined together and simultaneously promoted their *own*
green image even as they convinced millions of people that the *consumers*
are the ones responsible for pollution, not the producers.

So many people have been misled into thinking that "everyone pollutes
somewhat, so we therefore must accept that there is really nothing we can do
about eliminating it."

I would suggest that recycling activists need to begin thinking a whole new
strategy that addresses *lifestyles* and corporate responsibility. THe "Take
it Back, Coca-Cola" campaign is a great step in the right direction, but we
need to go after *many* industries and companies, and challenge
everyone--consumer and producer alike--to begin addressing the fundamental
cause of pollution and overflowing landfills, a gluttonous lifestyle.

David Orr