The waste generation crisis is a wake up call for our way of living as a species amongst other species on a finite planet. Globalisation may have transformed our world into a global village but its workings have also promoted an individualism that has smashed solidarity with our neighbours near and far.
So, not long after you put serious thought into re thinking waste you realise you have to re think yourself. And to do that its always a good idea to draw on others whose insight helps illuminate the way. Here are a couple of quotes that I find useful in helping us move into the new paradigm we need to help bring into existence to rescue ourselves and the planet from ourselves.
Looking with new eyes
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Care for ourselves and we care for our world
“Many people are aware of the Earth’s suffering, and their hearts are filled with compassion. They know what needs to be done, and they engage in political, social, and environmental work to try to change things. But after a period of intense involvement, they often become discouraged because they lack the strength to sustain a life of action. Intellect alone is not enough to guide a life of compassionate action. To effectively influence the future of our world we need something more. Real strength can be found not in power, money, or weapons, but in deep, inner peace. When we have enough insight, we are not caught by many of the difficult situations we face anymore. We can get out of difficult situations very easily. When we change our daily lives- the way we think, speak, and act – we change the world. It is important for us to live in such a way that in every moment we are deeply there with our true presence, always alive and nourishing the insight of interbeing. Without peace and happiness we cannot take care of ourselves, other species, or the planet. That’s why the best way to care for the environment is to care for the environmentalist.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Story of Stuff
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
You can find more videos and lots ore on the Story of Stuff website .
Say No Again!
By the end of April, unless we act, Derry City Council are scheduled to sign a contract that will tie us into the gasification of not just our own waste but the waste from six other borough councils as well as other ‘unidentified’ waste for at least the next 25 years! With the stroke of a pen it will make Derry the dumping ground of North West polluting our air, our river and lough and the surrounding countryside.
The gasification facility has already received full planning permission but has yet to secure its operating license and contract. Stopping the signing of the contract is therefore vital!
Alarmed that there is little knowledge of this development in a city that has twice rejected a waste incinerator, an ad hoc group has come together to inform the public!
Why are we alarmed?
Although the ‘spin’ from council is that gasification is an environmentally friendly way to deal with our waste, while creating renewable energy, in reality in terms of its harmful effects: gasification = incineration!
What’s the difference?
Incineration burns waste directly releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere in the process, leaving toxic ash that must be disposed in landfill sites. Gasification heats the waste in a sealed chamber denying it sufficient oxygen to be able to fully burn. This produces gas and a toxic ash/slag. This ash/slag again has to be disposed of landfill sites. Meanwhile the gas is burned in boiler to generate electricity and again toxins are released into the atmosphere.
Why are we opposed to this facility?
- Increased risk of cancer and respiratory disease through exposure to mercury and dioxins. These toxins are persistent and bioaccumulative; they resist breakdown in the environment and are concentrated in the food chain.
- Waste gasification adds both directly and indirectly to the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere.
- Many of the materials that provide the best fuel for a gasification facility are the sorts of things most easily re-used, recycled and composted. This facility takes us in the wrong direction requiring us to feed it 120,000 tonnes of waste annually.
What we think should happen
- At this point in our understanding of global warming, Derry should be doing its part to move us in the direction of zero waste.
- We should seize the opportunity of creating new sustainable employment in environmentally sound waste management enterprises and an associated industry.
- We should be protecting and enhancing the environmental status of the Lough Foyle area rather than threatening this vital ecosystem.
The “Lets Recycle” website has an explanation of the planned project.