Review: Garbology – Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash

GARBOLOGY: 
        OUR DIRTY LOVE AFFAIR WITH TRASH

By Edward Humes

Reviewed by Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

And now for something completely different.

This may seem an odd choice of book to review in a publication about Druidry, but there's a rationale for the choice. As pagans, we are by definition committed to tending and healing the earth. Some of us have been doing this for so long that we do it more out of habit than out of the passion that motivated us in the beginning. This book provides new fuel for that passion. Call it a booster shot.

The art and science of waste management is as old as humanity itself. Needless to say, it has undergone many permutations, from the simple middens of cave dwellers and nomads to the towering garbage mountains and waste-to-energy plants of the present day. Humes's book deals with the present day and the United States in particular. Its major thesis is that waste management in the 21' Century is - to understate the case — problematic. Much of the book is devoted to describing the problems, of which two stand out: first, that we generate far too much trash; and second, that discarded plastics are unmanageable and everywhere. Hume presents absolutely mind-boggling facts about the situation, a few of which are listed here.

Garbology Book Cover

  • The amount of space needed to accommodate one American's lifetime output of trash is equivalent to the space occupied by 1100 graves.
  • While many people know about the collections of trash that have accumulated in the world's several oceanic gyres, many more are not aware that the top few feet of the seas everywhere are filled with plastic confetti.
  • At least 25% of the American food supply is thrown away — by some estimates, as much as 40%.
  • Every year we throw out enough aluminum to replace the entire commercial air fleet four times over, and enough steel to duplicate Manhattan. Repeat, every year.

Having presented an updated picture of the problem, Hume next turns to possible solutions. The first, and sadly the most difficult, is to change our attitude towards trash. He makes the rather startling observation that the "hoarders" currently starring in several TV reality shows have only reacted in a pathological way to what used to be a nearly universal human impulse: an aversion to waste. Hume suggests that we need to cultivate this aversion anew while applying it with more forethought and practicality than hoarders are able to manage. He quotes a statement by the Berkeley Ecology Center: "If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production." That's advice for legislators, designers and manufacturers, but it can be adapted for indivduals and households by replacing the words after "then" with 'don't buy it."

Hume tells the story of one family who were able to collect an entire year's accumulation of non-recyclable waste in a quart Mason jar. (To learn how they did it, read the book.) The planning and discipline required by their program would be too onerous for most of us, but there is no question that we could all reduce the amount of trash we produce with a bit of thought and care.

The author also reviews waste management efforts by various levels of government, with special attention to ease or difficulty of execution, and to what has worked and what hasn't. Readers can mine these chapters for ideas as to what trash regulations and disposal methods they would like to promote to their representatives.

Read the book. It will benefit you at both ends, opening your eyes and delivering a kick in the pants.

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With TrashGarbology Book Cover
Paperback: 336 pages
Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
Publisher: Avery Trade; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1583335239

[This reveiw was originally printed in Henge Happenings #100 - Samhain 2013 - ed]

 [amazon_enhanced asin="1583335234" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00E295ZTG" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00CAYJRLW" /]

From the President – Samhain 2013

By Tony Taylor

Photo of Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor, Editor
Keltria Journal

[ Note: This is from Last Year's Henge Happenings, Issue 100, Samhain 2013.]

This, our 100th issue of Henge Happenings, marks twenty-five years of publishing the newsletter.  Over the years it as gone from a one-page, dot matrix printer letter to a replacement of Keltria Journal and on to it’s current form.  I hope you find Henge Happenings useful and informative.  I want to thank all of the contributors, officers, editors, and proof readers we have had over the many years.  It has been a great twenty-five years.

Wren and I were “Special Guests” at the 46th Annual Fall Gathering of the Tribes & International Leadership Conference, held September 5th - 8th, 2013 near LaFayette, GA. The event was sponsored by Celtic Church of Dynion Mwyn. Wren gave a workshop about ritual based upon the new “ritual” chapter which will be in the Book of Keltria. I gave a workshop regarding views of deity (theisms) which I have given before at other venues.  It is also covered in greater detail in the forthcoming Book of Keltria.

Publications

Speaking of which, the Book of Keltria is coming along nicely. The new theology and ritual chapters that replaced the previous correspondence course material is completed. The “Gods” is currently in a new rewrite to include more about myths and mythology as well as the Gods and Goddesses we celebrate.
I am working on a substantial rewrite of the Book of Ritual.  I am adding a lot of fresh detail plus additional notes for solitaries. I would like to have the new version available shortly after the Book of Keltria is available, however, I suspect it may not be ready until next spring.

Help Wanted

I am looking for individuals who will help with many of the Henge Projects. They include the following:

  • Keltria Listmaster (Admin.)
  • Keltria.org WordPress Administrator
  • Keltria.org Webmaster
  • Keltria.org Administrator (inc. eMail)
  • Keltria USPS Mailbox
  • Henge Happenings Editor
  • Henge Office Manager

I will work with anyone who volunteers to help them come  up to speed.  If you are interested, please contact me at tony_taylor@keltria.org.

-TT

[Positions lined through above have been filled.  Thank you new volunteers.]