For several reasons, I am obliged to blog this rather overlooked, minor player in the cacophony of voices clamoring to be heard here at COP-14 (the formal designation of the meeting). As I have noted elsewhere (see Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing post) there are numerous false solutions to global warming being foisted on the world. Some may prove to be so in hindsight, since the consequences of major tinkering with the systems of the Earth by our imperfect minds and hands can never quite be completely anticipated. But others may prove to be the product of the same self-interested, flawed paradigms that created the problem in the first place.
I gained admission to COP-14 as the ‘guest’ of the Ecology Center, out of Berkeley California (another long story that one, since we were mutually strangers in the great climate change cloud before the conference). Their primary message here in Poznan relates to the closely related false-solution/true-solution pair of waste incineration and recycling.
There are those here at the conference who would like the incineration of garbage to be counted as a ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ (CDM), and so be subsidized activities under the terms of that ‘mechanism’. This idea is a travesty. It essentially gives another subsidy and incentive to a completely unsustainable practice, the incineration of the hugely bloated waste stream of our voracious global, consumerist economy. It does not take a PhD to understand that the true solution, in contrast to this distorted idea, is that somehow humanity must find a way of reducing the very waste stream that would be incentivized otherwise, designing and creating products which last far longer than is currently the case (and is tolerated by the sleeping masses who have grown accustomed to this inherent planned obsolescence), can be repaired economically rather than the norm of being discarded as trash, and to recycle ever single stitch of that waste stream that can be recycled. The concept of cradle-to-cradle must become the ‘law of the land’. Every company in the world that creates a product must find a way to redesign that product so that is utilizes a minimum of the resources of Creation as feedstock and energy, that anticipates the re-use of every possible component and material, and then be held responsible for creating individual or shared ways of collecting those products as they reach their extended useful lifetimes for the reclamation, reuse and recycling of its components.
Talk about a paradigm shift from the current norms! Yes, this may be a Utopian idea, but it does not take a Nostradamus to predict that such ideas will evolve into the mainstream as humanity foolishly continues to rape the planet of her stores of raw materials, and to foul both the air and the water with the products and by-products of our foolish, blindly short-sighted ways.
For the Earth – §