Email Update, August 2019.

This month, Lisa O’Halloran and friends got together to respond to the recycling crisis in Melbourne. Lisa lives in a council where recycling is still headed to a recycling plant to be sorted, rather than dumped in landfill as is the case for 31 councils across Victoria. Her rapidly growing Facebook Group is connecting people with space in their bins, with people who don’t want their waste to go to landfill.

Obviously, this is an interim action.

Councils finding a way to divert recycling from landfill is also an interim action. Government policy creation related to whole-of-life-cycle manufacturing is another interim solution (eg banning single-use plastic), as is creating the conditions for on-shore waste processing… Enormously reducing our so-called recycling as individuals is another great step, but is not yet the heart of the problem.

At the root of the recycling crisis is a crisis of relationships. We don’t know the people who grow our food or make our clothes or build our computers. We don’t see the individual landscapes that generously provide the sweet yellow bananas, fluffy white cotton, rich black oil and rare earth minerals. We don’t know the songs of the birds in those places or the smell of the rain. We don’t even really notice them in our own places.

If we knew all that, we would treasure the products and services we need to survive. We would remember that everything is made of the Earth and all returns to Earth in the most intimate kind of relationship. We’d see the cycle of life up close and personal, and know there is no such thing as “waste.”

And this is why we love Lisa’s little initiative. It’s a small action really, but at the heart of it is connectedness. It says, “Hey you stranger over there. I know you care about the Earth and your impact on it. Come over here and let’s treat it a little better together. Let’s share.”

This kind of connected feeling, thinking and action is where all real, long-term solutions to crisis spring from.

Some political actions you can take: