And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: “Look at this Godawful mess.”
~ Art Buchwald, 1970
On Saturdays, when the weather is nice and we haven’t declared it a Beach Day, M and I spend time on clean-up duty here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. Today is so nice that we were tempted to hit the beach, but neither M nor I had any desire to get in the car. The trip to the Bogs and back involved a lot of car time, as did yesterday’s running of the errands. Because everything is Far Away, errands and shopping involve quite a bit of drive time.
M revved up the Massey-Ferguson tractor this morning to help with a big clean-up job. In the backyard, covered in thickets, we discovered a mini landfill of household trash. Black plastic garbage bags were heaped there, and we thought it was just the usual everyday waste. M started dragging it out with the tractor, and discovered there was more to it than the usual everyday rubbish.
As it turns out, there we cans of paint in and/or under some of those bags. It’s a beautiful blue shade of paint, and might have looked nice in the house if they ever used it. There were no blues on the walls or ceilings when we moved in. Everything was in earth tones, mostly browns, oranges, and some reds.
As you can see, some of the paint ended up on the ground. We did the best we could to sop up some of it. The rest will have to wear away.
This afternoon we worked on dredging out the trash from under the deck. It’s a project we put off. We have a deadline now. Shortly after the first of the year, another big renovation project will be started, and that involves the deck. I’ll tell you more about it once it’s underway.
U.S. consumers and industry dispose of enough aluminum to rebuild the commercial air fleet every three months; enough iron and steel to continuously supply all automakers; enough glass to fill New York’s World Trade Center every two weeks.
~ Environmental Defense Fund advertisement, Christian Science Monitor, 1990
And so, the clean-up continues. We still have tons of trash to pick up. Because of that, we have decided we need to create a small dump area of our own. It’s too expensive to have someone else pick it up and haul it away. The cost in labor and landfill fees is high. We’ve picked out a space where we hope none of the garbage will find its way into the ditches and creek. Once we have it filled in with trash, we’ll cover it with nature’s discards, and then leave it for the thickets and trees to grow up and around it. This way, it will all be in one place, and the next owner of this property might have the time and/or money to have it hauled away to the landfill.
That’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today. Thank you for stopping by. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the clean-up, we’ll be glad to accept, and will offer you food, drink, and friendship in return.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
We must not be forced to explore the universe in search of a new home because we have made the Earth inhospitable, even uninhabitable. For if we do not solve the environmental and related social problems that beset us on Earth — pollution, toxic contamination, resource depletion, prejudice, poverty, hunger — those problems will surely accompany us to other worlds.
~ Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment, 1996