Reading that the largest landfill on earth has been reconfigured as a power source and is now bringing solar energy to 2,000 citizens in New York City initially seems like the feel good story of the year. And, obviously, it is something to celebrate.
Unfortunately, like recycling, it tends to distract from the real problem. Why is that landfill so big? What are we consuming and wasting and how can we make dramatic changes on that side of the equation? Simply reducing our consumption isn’t as dramatic a story. But it’s a far more powerful strategy, ultimately, than using technology to fix problems that arise from a way of thinking that hasn’t changed.
We may have heard Einstein’s famous quote about that, how problems created by one way of thinking can’t be fixed by the same way of thinking. Question: who has heard that quote and then set about to deliberately change their way of thinking?
There are countless ways to reduce our personal consumption habits and Christmas is the perfect time to start. Instead of buying gifts, why not look in the garage and ferret out what you’re not using … and gift that instead? Just imagine if we began recycling all the stuff that’s sitting idle, rusting and decaying, instead of shuttling it off to a landfill and making/buying more.
There’s a lesson in here for all of us, and an inspiration for the season, to make the most of what we already have, rather than making a mess of our planet.