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A Philosophy of Trash, Garbage, and Waste

A Philosophy of Trash, Garbage, and Waste

Update: 2018-05-251
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As the world becomes wealthier, more connected, more educated, and more metropolitan - we create more trash. And our population is growing, faster than ever. From the American Revolution, to the end of WWI, our world population grew by 1 billion. From the day the World Trade Center Towers fell, to the day Osama Bin Laden was killed, our population grew by the same amount. Every day, we produce more waste than the day before. So what are we going to do? Now I'm an optimist about our future. I quite agree with Steven Pinker and his book Enlightenment Now. I know I've already made the controversial statement of admitting my fondness for people, and yes this includes my neighbor and the people who voted differently than me. So, I suppose I won't do too much damage by agreeing with Pinker and saying that the world is fantastic. We have certainly progressed. But that is part of the point - waste is endogenous to progress. Inefficiency to efficiency. Failed attempts to successful ones. But we can't simply wave our hands and brush garbage under the rug with the answer that it is here to stay - at some point quantity matters and as it stands there is only one earth. So, let's talk about trash, waste, and garbage, and think about how awful the world would be if we don't find a way to deal with this problem, and paradoxically, how awful the world would be if there were no trash at all.

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A Philosophy of Trash, Garbage, and Waste

A Philosophy of Trash, Garbage, and Waste

Evan Thomsen