At one of our potluck events (I sure do miss those), someone said to me, “Why so much focus on zero-waste? There are more pressing issues.” I have thought of that a lot. Of all the issues I can think of, they all are impacted by working to move to a zero-waste community.
“Our goal is to eliminate the idea of waste from our mindset and to normalize a kinder existence without waste.”
John and I are moving to that mindset and it has impacted every part of our lives. We have lived most of our life not thinking deeply about our waste. Recycle, recycle, recycle and we were good citizens. Items are disposable for a reason, right? Well, right we have discovered. What we discovered and what we continue to learn is that the thought of waste is privileged. I visit the DrawDown Project website frequently, especially the solutions page. Here is a paragraph from the page.
Here, we present the individual solutions reviewed and assessed by Project Drawdown, including their relevant sector(s) and their impact on reducing heat-trapping gases. This list is extensive but not exhaustive, and we continue to add to it as a living project.
Specifically on the food waste page it states: In regions of higher income, willful food waste dominates farther along the supply chain.
In my podcast interview with Naeema Muhummad, she says something like, “If white people don’t want it, you will find it here in Eastern North Carolina.” The podcast is hard to listen to. The impact of my waste, from the waste I throw away to the waste created by commercial meat farms I use to purchase the products of, makes other people’s lives a living hell. Naeema was involved with a study conducted by John Hopkins University which focused on those living next to commercial hog farms in North Carolina. John Hopkins discovered that hog urine and feces were on kitchen tables, countertops, children’s toys, and so on inside their homes!
The neighbors filed a lawsuit and North Carolina lawmakers responded by making it illegal for them to sue. I cannot buy items I know are coating children’s toys and people’s homes, inside and out, with animal waste.
These are the things we find out as we do deep dives into finding out what impacts our waste has on others. It takes time and dedication and there is no doubt this group, Moving to Conservers, has given us the support and love it takes to learn and take action.
The creation of Transylvania Shares, a sharing club in our community is a perfect example of how this group has helped create a business in our community that is normalizing reuse and the elimination of waste.
Moving to zero-waste is an economic development engine. To live waste-free, we need a host of businesses that do not exist in our community. John and I have a list of businesses we would like to see here and are working to make those a reality.
Thanks to each of you for being a part of this and for helping us. Together we can.
Orginally posted September 14th, 2020