Waste Not…

Why waste is an entirely man-made concept… and a man-made problem.

My dear and long suffering reader, I’ve been thinking a great deal of late about waste. Ok… it’s not the most salubrious of subjects I grant you, but I think you’ll agree, one that’s on many people’s minds in our modern age.

What I’ve found so intriguing is that “waste” is entirely a human concept. Nowhere else in nature will you find waste as we know it.

“Now hang on,” I hear you exclaim in that exacerbated and vaguely italicized way I find so endearing. “Surely nature has waste. What about, well… you know… that stuff?”

By “that stuff” I assume you are referring to excreta, feces, urine or other such biological debris. I must apologize for being so hopelessly gauche, but it’s as well to be accurate about these things, n’est-ce pas?

To answer your question, technically yes, such material could be considered “waste.” However, I think you’ll find that it does not remain waste for long. It becomes food and fuel for all manner of plants and microorganisms. Everything, from the abandoned shell of a hermit crab to the leaves that fall from trees, is recycled and reused in some form or another.

The concept of garbage dumps, landfills and waste disposal facilities are an entirely mad-made creation, and the increased need for them is an entirely man-made problem.

When you compare our noisy, aggressive and frankly wasteful modern civilization with the perfectly balanced, entirely self-sustaining natural world in which we live, it’s difficult to see our supposed superiority.

It seems that from time to time Nature must show us, her most arrogant of children, exactly where we fit in the “superiority” scale. If you’ve ever seen a tornado, or endured an earthquake, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Nature has no concept of waste, and we human-flavoured humans, for all our technological wiz-bangery and clumsy hubris, will, at some point, be recycled back to the dust from which we came.

Waste not, want not.

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