I can’t stop thinking about how there’s no waste in nature. It’s designed so perfectly that nothing is superfluous, everything has value, and 100% of something consumed get “used up.” How did we humans stray so far from that? Seeing trash littered on the street is a constant reminder of how wrong we got the systems of waste creation and disposal. If we can be inspired by nature to create faster cars, sophisticated cooling systems, or beautiful works of art, than why not let nature guide us to rethink the entire concept of waste?
The biggest problem with waste disposal is the notion of “out of sight, out of mind.” Trash leaves our hand, get tossed into a bin and we rarely give it a second thought. For all intents and purposes, it is like it never existed. This can be compared to human waste, which if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that has toilets and good plumbing systems, you flush the toilet and never have to think about it again. Except sometimes you do. Most people have inevitably dealt with a problem with their plumbing, and often the problem is discovered by an unfortunate overflowing of the toilet bowl. It is at that moment that we are starkly confronted with learning about where that waste goes. We become devoted to prevent problems and clogs in that system. We gain a newfound respect for the mechanisms that handle the waste.
Our waste collection systems on the societal level are overflowing, causing enormous messes in our environment, and people don’t know about it or don’t care. But we need to care. We need to develop respect for the systems that process our trash. We need to be devoted to prevent problems in that system the same way we are in our homes. After all, the Earth is our home too.