There is No Discarding

Maybe you should come to my house, not just to see our impressive array of expired drugs but to look at this little opening in the back of one of our medicine cabinets. The idea seems to be that you ‘mailed’ your used razor blades on into that slot and there they stayed. What a neat system, right?  You could feed these used blades in there one by one, year after year, and just forget them. Oh somebody might have come in contact with them way down the line but it wouldn’t be you.

As far as I can see this was the attitude in the old days when bathrooms like these were being put together. 

Remember the world then? People just blithely threw their candy wrappers out their car windows. 

They tossed their cigarette butts with a flick of the wrist and let them land where they would. 

They certainly let their dogs trot all around the neighborhood, leaving their calling cards wherever they pleased.

(And if a dog used your yard as his toilet you didn’t go talk to your neighbor to ask him to clean it up.  You just went and got a dog of your own and sent him to us your neighbor’s yard as his toilet.)

For sure the grass didn’t benefit, any more than the stretches of sidewalk littered with butts, or the roadways swirling with discarded bits of trash.

 Still, that’s how we were then. Nobody thought of the earth as a living creature, an organism much like us, struggling every day to breathe, and seek nourishment, and tend its wounds.

In the old view the planet was insentient, just a picture on the wall in your Fifth Grade classroom. Back then, the concept of Ecology lay far in the future, the idea that Earth might just be the body of God unheard of.

I love that idea: Earth as God’s body. This rich soil God’s face. It just sounds right doesn’t it?

Still, I have to give some credit to those people who designed my medicine cabinet. At least they tried to guard the people in their own houses from used and rusty blades in the wastebaskets. They did seem to care at least a little about what they were leaving behind.

I hope we can come to care more. Have you ever seen the countryside around Tijuana, out a bit from the city? There you find whole orchards and harvests of discarded plastic bags clinging to all the branches and caught against every fence.

This picture was taken in Los Angeles, California, part of the shiny and progressive (?) First World and look how terrible it is – and that’s even before you get to the pictures of the animals caught in that indestructible stuff. 

We can do better than this with all our ingeniousness, can’t we? Can’t we?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s