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Waste Is A Human Invention … There Is No Waste In Nature

Clive Blazey is Co-founder of The Diggers Club and has been a constant voice for nature for over 50 years.  This is post taken from the Diggers Club website that perfectly reflects our thinking as it relates to ‘waste’ which is non-existent in nature but a central part of modern western society that must be completely eliminated if we are to claim any notion of sustainability.

Clive explains how our waste is a symptom of an unsustainable lifestyle
There is a remarkable truism which is devastating for Homo sapiens to comprehend – there is no waste in nature. But Australians each create 2.7 tonnes of waste a year. That’s 7.5kg per day and yet we only consume about 1kg of solid food, fruit, vegetables and meat each day! So 6.5kg of our daily waste is packaging, which is a shocking indictment of our consumer-driven lifestyle.

Just one rubbish bin a year
David Cavagnaro from Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa and the late permaculture guru Bill Mollison, set the gold standard for all of us by leading truly sustainable lifestyles … they each filled just one rubbish bin a year!  The contrast between the profligate Australian consumer lifestyle and the sustainable one is staggering. When you grow your own food, it doesn’t need packaging; but this wasteful national figure rarely applies to gardeners (including Penny and I as we buy almost no processed food or consumer goods) because we, like all gardeners, compost our food scraps and garden prunings.

When did our waste problem begin?
This modern corruption of our ecological system began with the industrial revolution, from the 1750s onwards, but it really gained momentum when consumer marketing took off in the early 1960s. Marketing gurus persuaded consumers to give up our partially-sustainable lifestyles. This was exemplified by the ubiquitous supermarket tomato travelling 3,000km south from Bowen to replace home-grown, fresh food with heavily processed and packaged food for convenience.

Nature recycles everything
When a tree falls or an animal or insect dies, it becomes the nutrients for the next generation of plants thereafter. Rocks decay, which helps provide the minerals to combine with the organic matter to create new soils. There is no waste in nature, everything is recycled. The gaseous carbon in the atmosphere is dragged down to the earth through photosynthesis to feed living plants that in turn feed the animals which are eventually recycled back into the earth after decay, in a cyclic process of renewal. Without plants there would be no animals.

Dinosaurs roaming Federal parliament
We are being led by people who have no idea of how our planetary system works. They are arrogant and ignorant of how close to calamity our out of balance ecological system is to creating an unsustainable planet.

There is no time to waste
I was brought up to believe my primary task was to prepare my children for a better future.  As I got older, I began to worry about the future of my children’s children. Toxic Tony started the nonsense as conservatives,  who should be conservationists, overturned the carbon tax to enable miners and corporates to bolster their bottom lines. If we compost our food scraps and bury our prunings using trench composting techniques (image below), we should be able to cut the volume of waste by half. By buying unprocessed food, shopping for fruit and vegetables beyond what we grow and using only recycled bags or boxes, we can dramatically reduce waste almost immediately.