Tuesday 10 April 2012 – Harmful waste

There are an abundant varieties of waste but this post would like to focus mainly on plastic waste. It is imperative that our cultural practices surrounding waste disposal, waste creation and the packaging of consumable and materialistic items changes drastically. What we must realise is the extensive damage plastics and mistreated waste is causing our ecosystems and ultimately the affect this has on the human population in a very negative way. Our life support systems are being damaged, but more importantly we are blindly killing animal and plant life. This is inherently wrong.

So what are our solutions. The solutions are many, but here in short is what we can do as individuals and as a collective to get started.

1. Educate yourself and educate yourself YESTERDAY! What does this mean? It means familiarise yourself and become aware of: the many various links, your role, history of sociocultural evolution, major players and causes surrounding pollution and waste. Then educate yourself on other sociocultural subject matter for much of this is closely interconnected.

2. Spread the word! Educate others, start with those close to you. It all begins with education and understanding the world around us. Understand the natural world alongside the socially created world. By doing moving through this process the way you present your newly discovered information to others will be clearer and more concise. This helps when presenting new and often impacting information to others. Hold information nights for family and friends, hand out flyers, speak to your local municipal, get local authorities involved, generate public interest. Remember at the core of this lies passion, your passion to assist others including yourself and those you love. As you discover new information about how the natural world works and how our cultural practices are counterintuitive to these natural workings you will find that passion will swell deep within you. Be careful here that this passion remains just that a passion that drives you forward and motivates you to promote ecological and social homeostasis. Careful this passion does not turn to rage and anger…

3. Avoid using plastics as much as possible & promote solutions for change management practices. Search for alternative, biodegradable products that are recyclable and Earth friendly, invest in these products. This is not easy as our world is driven by petroleum based products, but where you can, consume less. This will eventually have a trickle effect on the production and packaging of these goods and perhaps force large scale corporations to reconsider the way they produce and package products. This works best when we reach tipping point. Consider this and revert back to point 2. Also promote existing and emerging technologies that contribute positively to the environment and make effective and efficient use of our current practices and methodologies, such as: closed-loop recycling-production-distribution systems. This is a start and what will be required in order to make a transition towards mass social change is jus that; a start!

4. Believe in the right to life, believe in yourself, believe in your loved ones and believe strongly in saving what maintains your existence. Maintain these beliefs and your journey as an ‘ecological warrior’ will be fruitful and deep.

5. Value change and behaviour change – this is crucial to global/worldly attitudinal change… Begin with yourself and the domino effect will take place, this is a promise. The key to this entire process is patience. I can hear some of you screaming already; “but we are running out of time, the Earth is dying and our cultural practices are increasing in volume and not showing signs of slowing down.” This may be true, but being impatient and/or aggressive in your approach will not be useful to this meaningful cause. Remain calm, follow your path and be focused; patience is key.

Click here to gain some statistical information on waste and the negative effect on the ecosystem. Below are two interesting articles on plastic waste management and the overarching effects plastic has on our global community. Mentioned earlier in point 1 was the ecology of knowing and that educating yourself on various subject matter is key to holistically understanding the evolution and multi layered effect of plastics. It is not as simple as to just stop the creation of plastics (although it is absolutely necessarily from an ecological standpoint – the integrity of our ecosystems depend on it). Then again as one of the articles point out the conversion of used plastic to fuel. Although this appears an innovative solution (and it absolutely is), what about the continuation of pollution (ultimately lending further to GHG’s). The continuous production of traditional fuels as derived from these recycled plastics produced will then continue to perpetuate in to our atmosphere, will it not? The point being made here is that there are other issues that require attention; and not only by governing authorities, but by everyone on this planet.

We have created a rod for our backs through the systems and cultural constructs we have manifested for ourselves. Over the last 200 years we have developed systems where we are so reliant on petroleum and the oil industry that to move away from this is extremely difficult. Without moving to another tangent but simple reiterating the connective nature of our society, moving away from a plastic society would immediately and throughout a transition period economically damage countries, large corporations and a certain way of life that so many of us depend on Many would suffer both intrinsically and extrinsically.  The influence the privatised sector has upon society is enormous and the perceived importance and value our current society places on money and economic value outweighs our intrinsic push to protect our lives and that of our fellow living beings. This requires immediate change, compromise and the realisation that ‘business as usual’ is not viable anymore! The underlying reality is that some pain will now ultimately have to accompany the necessary change in order for humanity to flourish.

In saying this though there is still tremendous hope and this hope is present, is it not a non-existent reality in the from of a dream, it is real, it is tangible and it is accompanied by passion. Simply consider the world from a different perspective. There are already in existence so many different technologies and solutions to our current way of life, there are already so many who fight for their freedoms and rights, for the rights and freedoms of you and of our natural ecology. Join them, be part of this ‘in-group’, be part of this worthy movement, your spirit will thank you for it as will your children… We require the awareness, the courage and the will to move forward and re-assume a new way of living; I believe we all have the capacity for this. SS.

Conversion of plastic wastes in to fuels

Regulating Plastics Waste, Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Challenges in South Africa


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