Occupied Waste

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Howling Hill

Image from KVAL

Watching Occupy Wall Street protests unfold around the nation, I keep having the same thought. No, it’s not about inequity (I think about that all the time) or wanting a government more responsive to the people (I think about that all the time too). Rather, what I keep thinking about is the waste.

The point of Occupy, to me anyway, is a redistribution of wealth in this country. Thousands of people are dissatisfied with the way our government has run over the last 30 years so they have taken to the streets. This I think is fabulous. (Full disclosure: I have been one of those who have taken to the streets at @OccupyNH). But What I don’t think is fab is all the waste associated with OWS.

Once cleaning crews came into the parks of New York City, Denver, Oakland, Seattle, Boston, and other cities, tents, sleeping bags, food, signs…all that stuff was just thrown away. Dumpsters became full. Trash trucks were brought in to dispose of the items Occupiers brought with them. Libraries were destroyed. All those books and computers were haphazardly tossed in the garbage.

But the Occupiers are resilient so they went out and bought more stuff: more tents. More sleeping bags. More books. More computers. If it wasn’t for the commodity driven society we live in, Occupiers would not be able to go to Target, EMS, REI, Wal-Mart, or any other store to buy off season items. Even if Occupiers shop at local, independently owned stores, those stores are still stocked with items relatively easy to produce.

It makes me wonder if Occupiers, myself included, are really making a difference. Sure, we keep coming back after cops chase us out of our parks with pepper spray, grenades, rubber bullets, and batons, but at what cost? Is there a better way to get our government to respond to us or is taking to the street the one tried and true activity we can relay upon regardless of the amount of wasted food and other commodities?

I have no answers so please let me know your suggestions.

Cross posted at No Unscared Place

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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