When I first read Heather Rogers’ “The Hidden Life of Garbage“, she wrote well but seemed to miss the point. But as I reread the essay, I came to realized she was raising awareness through disgust then leaving the big question for the reader to ponder. I think a lot of the readers of this article would probably benefit from some clear cut ideas and / or solutions stated by the author in the essay. I believe a lot of readers have become accustomed to “corporate green washing” due to television, radio, etc and governmental control of much of their lives.
Far too many American citizens rely upon the government to think for them. When the Environmental Protection Agency reports that a catastrophic situation is safe or no longer toxic, world-wide citizens, and specifically Americans, go blindly on following their words as an infallible authority.
We no longer think independently. That is why I believe Ms. Rogers needs to include a solution.
As I watched the documentary, “Gone Tomorrow”, I realized that even the director of thevideo was somewhat guilty of “green washing” because of the quirky soundtrack and 1950’s movie cuts. It was not harsh enough to truly hammer the point home. While it emphasized what happens to our garbage after we take it to the curb, I believe a greater point would have been to place responsibility on the consumer and the corporate planned obsolescence. As Heather Rogers states, “What if we didn’t have so much trash to get rid of?” This is more of a public problem then a government one, WE are as responsible for the overabundance of waste as anyone. How many Styrofoam cups were used on campus today? The author uses many terms for garbage in her essay; “rejectamenta”, “detritus”, “castoffs” etc.
While these terms enlighten the reader to many names of garbage, I believe, it again detracts from the point, giving the work too playful an attitude. If more time were spent focusing on the publics responsibility of the problem instead of entertaining the reader, the overall impact would have been greater. With the numerous articles in newspapers and magazines depicting and informing the public of our current environmental issues concerning our waste, it seems like ms rogers should focus more on the three or’s. reduce reuse recycle. While her indepth study of landfills somewhat tries to raise awareness , it is our responsibility.the authors pointed description of landfill procedure shouts that something is wrong with our current mode of disposal, but doesn’t even whisper about any ideas or solutions.
It is true that our natural landscapes ate inundated with our litter. But it is not our only dumping “ground”. Oceans, too, are becoming a repository for our filth. A “dump” currently resides in the Atlantic ocean that would dwarf the holes in the ground that we relate to such places. Several miles wide and at least a mile deep (insert actual fact and citation) filled with used, dirty diapers, old milk jugs, plastic Wal-Mart bags, etc. if this monstrosity were visible on land, or if the general public had knowledge of it, there would be public outcry for change. Collection of municipal trash began as early as 200 b.c. in Athens (not Georgia, but the real one). Maybe if it weren’t so easy to just throw it away and forget it citizens would be more aware of the amount of waste they produce. Thesis: Without an immediate and drastic change to our consumption and trash disposal methods we will be permanently inundated with our own waste.
Royte, E. (2005). Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. New York, NY. Little Brown and Company. Meyer, J. L. (2011). Positive solutions for rural solid waste management. (M.A. Dissertation). Retrieved from Goldmine database. McGurty, E. (2006). Solid Waste Management in “The Garbage State”: New Jersey’s Transformation from Landfilling to Incineration p. 28 Part II Policy and Law. Maher, N. A. New Jersey’s Environments: past, present, future (28-50). New Brunswick, N.J. Rutgers University Press. Neal, H.A. Solid waste management and the environment: The mounting garbage and trash crisis. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall Diana J. Brodie (Producer). Heather Rogers (Director). (2002). Gone tomorrow: the hidden life of garbage. (Distributed by AK Press. Originally from: Oakland, California)
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