I have a new pet peeve. I have never been an environmentalist or one to particularly go out of his way to save the environment but I have recently been annoyed whenever I see things being that are recyclable being thrown away. It started at the shopping center when I see people buy something really small and the person at the checkout bags it when the customer could easily have shoved it in their pockets. True it may be more convenient, but is it really necessary? At work I get a little annoyed when anything unnecessary is printed out because the next reaction is to typically throw that in the bin even when the back of it is unused. Although one thing I do like is the fact that the majority of wasted printouts are cut up to make little notepads for everybody to jot notes on which I am quite pleased about.

Projected consumption of natural resources

Projected consumption of natural resources

Which brings me the point of this post. According to the above image from New Scientist magazine, at the rate that we are consuming the earth, we will run out of raw materials for basic goods within our lifetime. Now that is a scary thought. It’s not a new idea, it is one which has been emphasized many times before but trivialized and ignored by the masses as sensationalist and scaremongering. But imagine that one day you are sitting at home and realize that your toothbrush has worn out. Well thats too bad because there is no more raw materials on earth to make another. Or you will be driving from petrol station to petrol station and run out of petrol before you realize that oil reserves have run dry! Or you have run out of copper to rewire your house and now you cannot receive electricity. Realistically we would probably have moved onto a better form of transmitting information and power (wireless power transmission anyone?) but the reality of it is that we will run out of some raw materials for everyday items and the majority of us will LIVE TO SEE IT HAPPEN.

I have thought before that it is up to the corporations to get the ball rolling with this recycling business, but right now they have no motivation to. For businesses it is all about where the money’s at, and the short of it is that it costs them money to implement environmentally sustainable production methodologies. Consumer demand is the only thing that we at the bottom of the ladder can shift. If we demand corporations to produce goods which are made from recycled materials then we can maybe push back this decline far enough so that we can find alternative ways to more efficiently recycle our waste. As the adage goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

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