Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On preparedness

I have come to realise that in order to try to live trash-free, a constant vigilance is of utmost importance. What that means is that with trash being such a dominant status quo, there is no way of avoiding trash if you are not paying attention to the fact that trash is going to be generated unless you make conscious efforts to reduce it. In addition to the fact that trash comes out of un-self-sufficiency and our having given up the ability to do things ourselves, I have been thinking that trash is also borne out of a general lack of preparedness to deal with its generation. For example, many of us do cringe when we see piles of trash at a fast food restaurant, and we acknowledge our role in it, but we are always in a hurry, in between class, or in between appointments. We end up telling ourselves that we won't do it again, or we will try to be more conscious next time, which, of course, we seldom are. (It is kind of like trying to sip hot tea and burning your tongue, or eating hot pizza. Yes, we burn our tongues and the roofs of our mouths peel, and we tell ourselves, "Never again. I'll wait next time." But the next time you see a hot pizza, it is hard to resist the temptation to dig into it.) I have dealt with this project by trying to constantly think about what I may encounter, and being able to express to people my thoughts to people. Once I am prepared, mentally and physically (with objects), producing no trash has been not difficult at all. In cases where I have not been prepared, it has been easy to see the inconvenience I may have been on others around me. At the same time, it is also easy to see that trash can be borne of preparedness. Many of us may think that we will need an afternoon snack, and will therefore pack a packaged granola bar. The difficult thing is to reconcile preparedness with what we choose to be prepared for, and with what. I can be prepared for the afternoon hunger pang, but with something other than a packaged granola bar. It is not difficult, but there is always room for improvement and a heightened preparedness. In a world of now, it is important for us to consider the future.

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