Seriously… It’s the Little Things.

Of course, the cause of environmental degradation stems from socioeconomic, institutional, and technological activities, however the root cause of the majority of environmental issues stems from poverty.  Many high polluting manufacturing plants have emerged in China and India, still The West is the greatest consumer of the products produced from these plants.  Not to mention, the West tends to use developing countries as a source for waste disposal.  For example, it is on record that the United States has a habit of shipping electronic waste overseas for “recycling”.  Obviously, this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality is not recycling and frankly it is horrendous that the United States does such a thing.  Not only are these Western countries sweeping a real and imminent problem under the rug, but they are also leaving their problems up to countries that lack the capacity to handle all of that waste.  I mean, come on?  If some random person walked into your house with a bag of smelly trash, then just decided to dump it all over your bed for no reason at all, and left without saying a word, would you not be upset?  Well, I know I would. These poor areas rely on the environmental resources to survive.  By that I mean, when their environment suffers, they suffer substantially. These people that reside in these poor areas do not have the ability to just get rid of waste in the same way The West, more specifically the United States, can.  Honestly, this reading left me kind of angry and frustrated. How can we ever solve these issues, if we continue to lack the basic understanding and compassion for other people and their livelihoods?  From Leyla’s Ted Talk, I learned that everything at some point comes from nature, and it’s how you use the material that determines its environmental impact.  We need to learn to do more with less.  I also learned that biodegradability is a material property.  Basically, if something is biodegradable then it decomposes at a natural rate in a natural environment.  However, all of these biodegradable products that we have thrown out usually end up in landfills and contribute to climate change by producing excess levels of methane gas.  It is important to note that methane gas is 25 times more potent than natural gas.  The main problem is that we need to come up with simple solutions rather than complex ones.  For example, one might declare we should get rid of all plastic bags to eliminate plastic pollution and instead use paper bags. Still, it is often overlooked that paper bags are made of biodegradable material that will probably end up in a landfill, and like I previously stated, contribute to the production of methane gas.  Rather than focusing on the big picture, we should begin by focusing on the little things.  Seriously, it is always the little things.  The post-disposable future is dependent on whether people are ready to embrace a circular, post-disposable world.  Instead of recycling, we need to start reusing and re-purposing products. The idea of a post disposable world got me thinking, what can I do to contribute?  Recently, I have been buying a lot of candles.  I love my candles, but sadly they all have reached the point where there is little to no wax left.  Initially, I was just going to recycle them, but now I have decided to re-purpose them.  After I discover a way to remove the wax from the container, I could use the leftover wax to make a giant new candle. It will probably end up smelling really weird but I’m OK with that.  Also, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to re-purpose the empty containers as drinking cups since, for some odd reason, all of my drinking cups have mysteriously disappeared.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’ll keep saying it until people decide to listen, that it’s really about the little things.  There’s no reason to get caught up in finding solutions to a complex problem that could take months or even years to find a solution for, and instead applying that ‘I need to save the world’ mentality to your own individual world.

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