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This week while taking out the rubbish bins and separating the recyclables, I had an Ah-Ha moment. How did I get to this trashy way of living and throw so much stuff away?
I was brought up by a frugal German grandmother who reused almost everything. From jars, bags and cartons, she fed food scraps to the chickens or composted for the garden—hardly anything went into the rubbish bin.
But I also grew up in the culture of a “Throwaway Society,” one that encouraged unbridled consumerism and excessive waste. The rise of disposable packaging and single-use items was viewed as modern and convenient.
A 1955 article published in Life Magazine applauded “Throwaway Living” with a photo showing an American Family celebrating the convenience of disposable papers and plastics.
This pondering has me lead thinking about solutions that will help us build a less trashy future.
Did you read President Biden’s Fact Sheet for the American Jobs Plan? Joe and Kamala are asking us (and Congress) to reimagine who we are as a nation and how we can create a sustainable, compassionate economy.
The plan covers various initiatives—from fixing crumbling bridges to protecting our water and precious wetlands to addressing endangered coastal communities and restoring wildlife. It includes investing in alternate energy resources that include utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles.
The plan allocates 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities invests in rural communities and communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy.
Now that’s a tall order. Read the White House Briefing, and your head will spin.
Almost everything we consume has been produced, manufactured and shipped to us using fossil fuels. How do we transition our entire lives to a regenerative renewable way of living? How do we behave as a species on this endangered planet to get us to the goal?
Let’s look at it as an opportunity we can all participate in and create new jobs and innovative technologies along the way!