One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

Well actually, that may be a lie. One man’s trash isn’t even really trash. The whole concept of ‘trash’ and ‘waste’ is… well… it’s rubbish!

Today I just have a quick one to put out to you all, because it’s one of those simple concepts that enables deeper understanding and easier decision making. Anyone who’s watched Craig Reucassel’s ‘War On Waste’ will know that this idea isn’t an original of mine. (Anyone who hasn’t watched War On Waste… hop to it here)

The idea is as simple as this…

Most of what we consider to be waste is actually a resource. 

So let’s take it back a step. What is a resource?

“a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.” -Oxford Dictionary

In other words, it is something that allows us and our lives to function effectively. Pretty important right? So why on earth are we dumping all of our resources into landfill?!

Sure… your gym equipment is old and falling apart and half your workout was battling with the equipment, so you come inside to try and find a bottle of water but the cupboard is overflowing with plastic bags and you can never find anything!!!!! Throw it out! THROW IT ALL OUT!!! Punish the world for inconveniencing you! How dare anything else ruin your day?! It’s all too easy in the mayhem and frustrations of every day life to see all the junk in your life as… Junk! Spring cleaning kicks in and you send all the ‘junk’ to landfill.

Even the metal frame of your gym gear that could’ve been recycled and turned into the equipment at your local gym where you just purchased a pricey membership. Even the plastic bags and the plastic water bottle you could have used again or recycled… they could’ve been reincarnated as that chair you got from K-Mart the other day. But no. All in landfill where they sit and do nothing… well not nothing. They break up… into smaller and smaller pieces of the same thing. That right, they don’t breakdown into nutrient rich soils or anything beneficial like that. They basically just fester in a big hole in our Earth and have a toxicity party where all the seabirds are invited to get their daily dose of micro-plastics. You see where this is going.

So while you’re doing your spring cleaning this year, remember…

Everything is a resource. Reusing is the best option. Recycling is the next best. Landfill is a last resort.

Get on your local council website to figure out what you can do with the tricky things like batteries and ‘hard rubbish’. Take photos of the stuff thats still good but you’re sick of and message your friends to see if they want it, or score some cash for it on Gummie. There’s always a better alternative than landfill.

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Not the P word…

Politics. Even as people ready to make change from the grassroots level, we really can’t afford to ignore them. The good news is that they can’t afford to ignore us either.

What is it about politics that disheartens us so much? The amount of times I’ve heard people say things along the lines of “I don’t want to vote. What’s the point anyway? My vote means nothing and it’s not like there’s anything I actually want to vote for.”
Have we become so disengaged that we no longer shape our politicians and political parties to represent US? In many ways, we have stopped telling them what we want. We have thrown away our voices and settled for lost leaders, leaders who have no idea what we really care about.

…And so we go another year without a plastic bag ban, each day logging of native forests continues, more government funding for the Carmichael Coal Mine is granted, and we (Australians) continue to be one of the highest per-capita CO2 emitters in the world. All because we chose to disengage.

Perhaps there’s a handful of people who are all over the P word and when they get the chance, they have their voice heard, they make their vote count. But me? Well, until recently I’ve always been on the “I don’t even want to vote” side of the fence, and I’ve come to realise that this is a very common view among the younger gens (perhaps with the exception of Britain’s recent election). The language of politics is esoteric at the best of times. It’s no surprise that we have no idea what’s going on in politics, that people don’t know who or what to support, that we give up before we even try to understand politics.

Maybe politicians feel safer if we don’t really understand what they’re saying. Their language means one thing to us, but a totally different thing in the political realm. Maybe politicians want us to disengage because if we engage, they know that their policies wont stand a chance. Come Election Day, they know we’ll just give our votes away based on 5 minutes of reading posters while waiting in line.

The mentality that it’s us who have to listen to them is tired. It shouldn’t be a matter of “here are your options now choose.” It should be a matter of us, at the grassroots level, saying “this is what we want, we’ll support whoever helps us to achieve this.” Politicians will listen. Maybe not all of them, but they do try their best when it comes to keeping or gaining your support. They need us, and we need them. That we can’t escape. Just remember, it’s impossible for them to hear us if we aren’t saying anything.

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Here I’ve listed some important reminders and tips that have helped break the ice between myself and politics. I hope you may too find them to be useful…

1. Speak your own language
Getting into politics, speaking up and making a difference doesn’t mean you absolutely have to kill yourself trying to understand the language. It’s better to say it in your language than to not say anything at all.

2. Tell them what you think!
Whether that means that you sign a petition, send an email, make a phone call, attend a rally, send a smoke signal, whatever you have to do! Just get your point across. Tell them if you will or won’t vote for them based on their policies.

3. Social media has its limits and its benefits
Simply clicking the old thumbs-up on a Facebook post probably won’t do much. One thing about Facebook that I find creepy but also useful is that it figures out what you’re into and more links related to your interests come up in the old news feed. My news feed now brings so many important environmental issues to my attention.

4. Tune in
We can’t let political power be abused, but the moment we disengage, this becomes a serious risk. You don’t have to become obsessive, just flick on the news for 10 minutes or follow that link that comes up in your Facebook feed. The world of media is a useful tool. Even a small amount of knowledge is better than having no clue.

5. Talk!
Talk with your friends, colleagues, family, whoever. You might learn something very important off each other. You might change someones’ mind.

More on this topic…

A bit about Britains recent election and why young people should be politically engaged. Britains young people are getting back into politics at last

Even the preface of this speaks loud and clear. This one considers news/media, how young people are responding to the way politics are presented, and the concept of the post-modern citizen. David Buckingham is an incredible writer!
The Making of Citizens: Young People, News, and Politics

What’s it all about?!

I never imagined myself as a ‘blogger’. I’m still not really sure what I’m doing.
…I bet I’ve convinced you to keep reading.

I guess the reality of life is that none of us ever really know what we’re doing. Does the caterpillar really know why he wrapped himself up in that cocoon? Did he know he would emerge as a beautiful butterfly?
The point is that, we are curious and brave creatures by nature. We go in head first because there’s some internal urge deeply embedded, driving us to do something, even if we have no viable way of determining the outcome.

And so it happened. I wrapped myself in a cocoon of sorts, and I have emerged as a blogger. Didn’t see that one coming!

So what’s it all about? Well in a sense, it’s about the need for an altered evolutionary path. A long time ago it seems that we humans lost a very important connection; our connection with the environment. We no longer know how to care for it or live sustainably and harmoniously with nature. The equilibrium has been lost. Our evolutionary path has gone “off the rails”. We’re addicted to a Capitalist, consumeristic, wasteful, single-use, throw-it-out, get-a-new-one, polluting way of life. We need rehab.

Many people have resigned to and accepted a grim fate, or have decided that “there’s no way “they” can let all these bad things happen to the environment”. They? They being people of power, knowledge and importance? They being the politicians who are still stuck in a Capitalist rut, getting all buddy-buddy with the fossil fuel industry? Hmmm…

So you see, we are not exempt from acknowledging our environmental issues and assuming responsibility. But what on Earth am I supposed to do about it?!

And so the journey begins. This blog will be largely about introducing people to environmental issues they may or may not be aware of and what they can do to help our sweet little Earth. I’ve experienced the struggle for several years now of wanting to take action towards environmental issues but not knowing how. This is a relatively new realm for me too (especially the political side of things) and I’m up for a major learning curve. But hey! Let’s figure it out together. Let’s realise that we may change our minds about certain issues, and that we have something to learn from everyone. That’s what growing and evolving is about.

On a final note… Sometimes it’s really hard to not sound like a tree-hugging hippy when writing about this stuff, so I apologise in advance. This is about science, reason, learning, evolving, empowering, and reconnecting with the Earth that supports all our lives. Happy reading!