Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broken cycles

Almost all of the processes in our universe our cyclical. Stars are born in nebulae, and once they have spent their fuel, they explode in dazzling supernovae that seed our universe with elements that make life possible. The Earth does revolve around the sun, whether I like cold weather or not, and spring harbours new colour just as spectacularly as the snow blankets it out. Hawks from Canada migrate down to Argentina each winter, and make the trek back to Canada when their bodies tell them it is time. The "waste" in nature is food and fodder for new life, continuing cycles of existence and being - bodies are eaten up by the soil, and natural fertiliser is left behind after dinner. Cycles can also exist in our patterns of behaviour and being. Good can beget good, and a smile will brighten someone's day. Yet it seems that when it comes to larger scale communities, decisions and policies, we have defined the boundaries of our existence and influence to encompass less than the larger cycles that exist in nature, space and time; we have broken sacred cycles. Trash is a result of these broken cycles.

Broken cycles and an ethic of "more" can lead only to unsavoury outcomes. The concentrations in which we produce waste, and the rate at which we produce this waste are at odds with our universe's ability to keep up with restoration. We have all heard about "cradle to cradle" thinking and action. Achieving this is nothing but realising and bowing to natural forces, and regaining knowledge lost because of our tightly defined boundaries. Is it so hard to understand how the universe works?


  1. I am having a hard time envisioning our society being cyclical without a major overhaul in mentality. Industrialization, continually pushing for goals of higher productivity and higher efficiency, puts the economy at the center of life.

    Respecting the cycles of nature is impossible when we measure the success of a society by its monetary growth and not the happiness of the individuals, the health of the soil, water, air, and environment in general, or the potential for it to sustain indefinitely.

  2. It is interesting to think that people actually do care about the future of their kids, and maybe their land and their community, but that is the extent to which people can extend their imagination. Think about parents that work jobs just so that their children can go to college.

    I think the issue is that although people may be concerned, they are concerned locally. However, the impacts of their actions extend far beyond their locale.