i hate how satisfying it feels to chuck junk in the garbage, dust your hands off, and think, “well, that’s dealt with.” because it’s not dealt with. it’s just out of sight. the next step is for that junk to sit in a landfill for thousands of years, waiting to break down. much of it will be eaten by wildlife, making them sick or killing them. no one has any right to feel good or satisfied about that. all you did was get the mess out of your vision and dump it somewhere else. congratulations.
sometimes this line of thought bothers me when i notice people leaving trash and littering in otherwise beautiful places. because i think, “ok, now this place is uglier but if the person put the trash in a garbage can it would just end up at the dump and make THAT place uglier” — the root of the problem remains: we create mountains of garbage. so while i hate seeing trash in this otherwise pristine place, i have to think that whether it’s here or at the designated landfill, it doesn’t really matter. the garbage is going to have a negative effect on whichever place it ends up at.
i do what i can to mitigate this problem. i try to use as little stuff as i can, to buy as much used stuff as i can, to repair the stuff i have and use it until it can’t be fixed anymore, to use the remains for parts, and lastly, to recycle what can’t be reused. but i still produce what i consider to be a lot of garbage, and i feel guilty as all hell about it. and then i think about the average family with two kids, busy as fuck trying to juggle jobs and child care and whatnot, and i know they don’t have the time or energy i have to devote to shrinking their footprint on this planet. and that makes me wonder why i even bother trying since it seems so hopeless.
and i don’t really have an answer for that. i guess it’s the guilt that compels me to just keep doing the best i can, to feel the least guilty i possibly can for sucking up resources and spitting out nothing but shit and waste in return.
guilt is an unpleasant thing but i find it to be an extremely effective motivator.