In response to ‘Environmentalist trashes plan’ as published by the London Freepress.
January 20th | 2010
In response to ‘Environmentalist trashes plan’ as published by the London Freepress. By Cory Morningstar
The sensationalist headline & quotes taken out of context does little to promote ideas of creativity, imagination, self reflection or solutions which I articulated during the phone interview. Unfortunately – exploration of creative ideas and solutions must sound quite dull compared to a sensationalist headline of ‘Environmentalist trashes plan’.
Contrary to the headline, I am pleased that the pilot project has been approved. My response was not at all a ‘trashing’ of the green bin program. My response was actually a question something like this, “The answer is that we (ACE working group) are not even certain if we still support the green bin program model as looked through the original lens at ACE some time ago”. This is quite different from trashing it. If people would stop for a minute, listen and try to understand environmental issues perhaps we would see such issues as critically important rather than topics only to be exploited for the purpose of sensationalist headlines. Such reporting doesn’t help the cause. One part of the real story is the tragic fact that our society has come to view and consider compost as waste. It is not. It is soil. Yet another vital requirement for life which we have lost our understanding of. Compost is full of life, vital nutrients and life giving. It is not ‘waste’. We are making the same mistakes today that past societies have done, at an accelerating rate. We are slowly removing our planet’s life-giving skin.
First of all – I do not beleive there is one blanket solution. There are many solutions. The question is this – does it make sense to use limited fossil fuels to remove nutrients from our homes and neighbourhoods, to be taken away, processed (using more energy), shipped back to us in plastic bags (more oil) using more fossil fuels (CO2 emissions) to garden centres, etc. where we as citizen then drive (more fuel and CO2) to purchase it, bringing it back to where the compost was picked up in the first place. To think in terms of sustainability – one must challenge all preconceived thoughts and notions. This is what I attempt to do. This is what I attempt to inspire in ACE. An environment where we constantly evolve, imagine and explore. Composting has immense value and must be utilized. How do we achieve this? Is it wise to develop yet another status quo system where citizens come to depend upon the system, rather than a simplified system where citizens are empowered and play a vital role in restoring our ecosystems hands on? How do we build community? How do we build respect for one another? Can shared composting projects play a vital role in rebuilding socially bankrupt neighbourhoods? Can we expand community gardens, rooftop gardens, office gardens and community orchards to utilize compost and restore soil void of nutrients? Can citizens use bicycles to pick up compost rather than fossil fuel trucks? (As discussed through ACE) Can our children become empowered to be global citizens who will shape the world we live in by their participatory roles within such concepts? Can a program such as this reconnect us to nature to which we are a part of? Can it help build sustainable ideologies? A pilot project is a perfect place to explore such ideas.
Soil must be recognized as a living ecosystem. Soil loss, and its associated impacts, is one of the most important of today’s environmental problems. The threats of climate change and our own ability to destroy our shared environment are frightening, yet, the exhaustion of our natural resources, and especially of soil erosion are equally as dangerous, because once we begin to feel the repercussions it will be too late. Since 1960 we continue to accelerate the erosion of our soil. We have lost 50% of our agricultural soil since this time and we continue to desecrate our soil. Soil must be recognized as a living ecosystem and respected as such. Embracing compost as a vital component in the nourishment and healing of soil may be more of a conceptual shift than anything else, but it’s a conceptual shift that conserves the soil.
We must challenge the way we think and live. We must recognize the vast majorities of systems put in place to date have made our lives easier (not healthier or more fulfilling) only by exploiting our planet and vulnerable people. What we have done to our planet that sustains us is a crime. Our challenge now is to acknowledge this and then move forward. If we fail – we wipe out billions. Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, believes only around 10 per cent of the planet’s population – around half a billion people – will survive if global temperatures rise by 4C. Current Met Office projections reveal has set the world on a path towards potential 4C rises as early as 2060, and 6C rises by the end of the century. Anderson states the consequences are “terrifying”. “For humanity it’s a matter of life or death.”
We must work together at an unprecedented, urgent speed to create an entire new system. The compost system we design, although seemingly small, is interconnected with all systems. It will ultimately influence sustainability or contradict it. Every action has a consequence – each action either nourishes or destroys. It is not enough to pollute less and damage less. Though collaboration, creativity, vision and imagination we must design systems with one shared purpose. To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. When we nourish our earth we nourish our children. It is past time to start designing systems with this intent.
For the earth,