One of the real treats of living in Backwards Land is watching your fellow citizens eagerly dig from the ground substances that ought to stay there, while burying materials we desperately need.
And so we have coal and petroleum and natural gas, just for starters, exhumed to poison the land, water and air in myriad ways. And then we take minerals we’ve dug from the ground, turned at great cost into metal, and a few weeks or months later bury them without a second thought.
We do the same with something that’s a lot more easily recycled: Food.
Americans, it’s estimated, throw out almost half the food we grow. It could go back to soil, to help us make more food or nurture forests. But instead it sits in landfills, where – if the sunless, anaerobic environment allows it to decompose at all – it produces great billows of methane, so that we might warm the atmosphere faster still.
Encouraging people to think differently about the environment, on a very fundamental level, is the purpose of this blog. Composting might seem an obvious, and widely known, remedy. But any country that simply discards 34 million tons of hard-won organic matter each year is not only regarding as valuable things that are actually detrimental (fossil fuels, etc). It’s also regarding as useless stuff that’s actually valuable.
Here’s a column I wrote about composting, and a local small-scale commercial practitioner of same, for the weekly publication that employs me.
I’ll also add that the owner of the larger composting service mentioned in this article phoned me to object that her company was portrayed in a bad light. That certainly wasn’t my intention; I believe that company performs a useful service. However, as you’ll also see, commercial pick-up and dropoff composting operations have their limitations environmentally speaking as well.