As a first-time parent of a two-year-old child I am now more convinced than ever that environment plays a major role in how we develop as humans. Not that I did not believe this prior to being a father, but nothing other than environment serves as a plausible explanation for some of my son André’s behaviors that neither my wife nor I can even begin to comprehend.
One of those behaviors is, ironically, his utter infatuation with trash trucks. I say ironically not only because neither my wife nor I nor any close relative care much for trash trucks but also because I happen to be the community organizer for Don’t Waste LA. Started last year, Don’t Waste LA is an effort to reform the commercial and multi-family waste industry in Los Angeles in a way that will, among other things, reduce trash truck traffic in the city. So trash trucks are not all that exciting to my wife and me,
Every few days I drag my trash and recyclables out to the big gray dumpster and blue bin in the back of my apartment complex. The materials get picked up, the bins emptied, and they’re out of sight and out of mind. But where does it all go? Few of us actually know where our piles of trash and recyclables end up, with whom they come into contact and whom they impact along the way. While it may seem as though our trash magically disappears each week after the point of collection, it often ends up burned or buried near schools or homes in our city – or it may take a long journey, ending up outside of our communities, regions, state or even country.
The first step in raising our consciousness about our trash problem is to track where our waste goes. Trash | Track, a project out of MIT that builds on previous work of the SENSEable City Lab and is inspired by the NYC Green Initiative,
Recycling may be all the rage these days, but here in L.A. and across the country vast amounts of recyclable goods end up in landfills every year.
Turns out we’re throwing away a lot more than bottles, cans and newspapers. Here’s why: recycling equals jobs.
The recent report More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S., commissioned by the national Blue Green Alliance and prepared by the Boston-based Tellus Institute, builds a compelling case for thinking twice before throwing that old carpet into the trash. According to the report, increasing the national diversion and recycling rate to 75 percent by 2030 would create over 2.3 million new jobs.
Reuse and recycling — from collection to processing and manufacturing — is much more labor intensive than landfilling and incineration. Take all of those aluminum cans you redeemed this year,
When my parents started to work longer and longer hours to support their five kids, they sat me down and told me I had to start taking the bus to school. At 11 years old, this was the best news I could have imagined. Yes, I had to wake up at 6 am to get ready for school and catch the 212 and 33 bus lines, but that sense of independence I got from being able to “roam” around the city was priceless. (Well, almost…if you don’t include the price of a bus pass.) I learned to take the bus to Hollywood, the Montebello Mall, Santa Monica — places that seemed so far away from home in South LA.
It wasn’t always fun, of course: I have many memories of sitting at the La Brea/Venice bus bench for 45 minutes trying to catch the Line 212 after a long school day. I eventually learned to cope by reading a lot,
Though I deal with economic issues all day, I am not an economist and I have no formal economic training. That’s one of the reasons that I really like NPR’s Planet Money podcast. Yes, it has a little too much of a free-market bent for my tastes, but it does a very good job of explaining basic economic issues in lay language and, even more important, it is intellectually honest (which you can’t say about some key business media).
Planet Money recently aired a provocative episode called “Will economic growth destroy the planet?” Their jumping-off point was ostensibly the (purported) trade-off between economic and environmental health, but I found the real lesson in an important insight about how economists think and talk.
Let’s assume that we all agree that economic growth is a good thing. Almost every day, we see some headline or another touting the promise of a government policy or tax incentive or corporate investment to create jobs,