We Humans Sure Do Love Our Trash - We Are Basically the Trash Species
We have all awoken into this world grasping to figure it out and being taught by previous generations how things work. We have this magical gift of life presented to us. Yet, somehow, we decided the best way to do things is to trade that magical gift by converting our time into labor for money. We like that idea so much that it's an actual metric the governments use to determine whether or not the societies we've built are in good working order. That isn't entirely the worst idea if we were to use that idea responsibly. Humans should have the right to afford food and shelter.
Humans spend so much time working to gain status and wealth which usually just means converting their time into possessions hoping it will bring some self worth to themselves, or to impress others. So many of us have forgotten about the world outside of our societies. We have even come up with a popular expression for it: Out of sight, out of mind. We have gifted our trash to the natural world and both have become out of sight and thus out of our minds.
Everyone must know that when they throw things away it doesn't just vanish. It still exists somewhere. We're just not in control of it anymore. It's important we are mindful of that when we are adding things to our lives. But, it isn't easy to do.
Many people say to stop buying this and that to decrease our carbon footprint. I find this thought and argument to be flawed. As long as we are part of the trash species in our trash society it doesn't matter if we purchase things or not. The things we didn't buy are still getting produced and will still become waste. It just isn't necessarily directly on our specific conscious. But, we didn't stop anything. We just shifted the blame and guilt.
The Trash Overlords
Corporations know that we will keep converting our time into money and our money into possessions and they love it. They will keep generating more and more trash for us to consume as long as we keep consuming it. For many, this is fine. Lots and lots of people have completely succumb to accepting this is a normal way of living and have become quite good at thriving in it. Some don't know it isn't sustainable, some don't care that it isn't sustainable, and some know it isn't sustainable but aren't able to do much about it. Every corporation knows at some point we will need their trash again to keep surviving the way we've been conditioned to keep surviving.
Side note: I don't know if "corporation" is the best word to keep using. I'm hoping when I use it you understand I'm referring to places like Walmart or Amazon. But, our human trash society has been operating this way long before those two giants arrived on the scene.
The only difference between a landfill and a store or warehouse is that a store and warehouse has the trash organized. Make no mistake, everything on those shelves you're passing by is just trash. If every human died right now, everything in those stores and warehouses would be worthless. Every single item that is purchased and taken into a home is only valuable as long as the person finds value in it. One day they will inevitably either try to sell their trash off to someone else (ex. garage sale, yard sale, or eBay) or send it to a landfill. It's all trash.
Humans also like to game everything and they like hierarchy. It's no wonder we don't get along. Someone has to be at the top and someone has to be at the bottom. The rich get rich by selling as much cheap trash as possible so they can acquire wealth and status to keep perpetuating the same motion. What does all that wealth get these extremely wealthy people? They end up with the fanciest most expensive trash. It's still trash. Everything everyone has will become trash. What is a yacht? It's trash on water once they're done with it or it doesn't operate any longer.
The corporations and media use their money to generate more trash for us to consume. They sell us televisions where they can broadcast more media that forces upon us the idea that we need more of their trash. We keep purchasing it hoping it will increase our happiness and perhaps status. They have so much money and power it's seemingly impossible to stop them. The most anyone seems to be able to do is point out the problem, like I am now, get grumpy about it and say some words. But, nothing seems to change. At the end of the day, we like our trash. We're a trash species.
Can't live with it, can't live without it
Now that the trash society is created, it needs maintained. How do we do that? By giving people jobs within the trash society generating more trash and then leaving one trash factory with their earnings to spend those earnings at another trash factory.
Heck, I am writing this on a trash box (computer) right now. When I'm done with this computer it might survive a little longer with a new owner. But, ultimately it will go in a landfill one day. You're reading this on your trash box whether that be another computer, a laptop, a phone, a tablet, etc. These devices we think that are so fancy and magical mean absolutely nothing without our own human existence. None of it means anything to any other species and even if they wanted to use it. It has no value to them. They are designed for humans and humans only.
If you really think about it, how much do you value your things compared to someone else's things? Everything my neighbors have means nothing to me. It's basically trash. It only has value to the person currently holding onto it until, inevitably, one day they no longer want it and it becomes trash.
What have we done?
You know who thinks humans are a brilliant and intelligent species? Humans. Only humans think that. Every other species on the planet has long figured out how to survive working with nature instead of against it. We are the only species that changes the natural world into trash as our way of surviving and thriving. There was a time when our species did work with the natural world, but the numbers of those individuals is growing smaller and smaller being pushed out by the faction of our species that likes consumerism.
So, it should be of no shock to anyone when you see all of the drastic weather changes and natural disasters. We have asked for this outcome. This "modern" human that we've become has mass produced itself and thus mass producing trash on an immense scale with no signs of stopping. I don't think anything I'm saying is anything anyone doesn't know. We just seem to like to forget about it because it seems like such a giant problem there isn't anything we can do about it. So, we wait until Earth finally kills us off. All that will be left of us is our immense piles of trash.
If you think recycling is going to save us, think again. It sounds like a good idea, but of course, we're not doing that right either. Check out this video from John Oliver about how recycling really looks:
First of all, I'd like to say that I'm not trying to write this to sound like I'm on some pedestal and better than everyone. I am 100% part of the problem. These thoughts bounce around in my mind all the time and it bothers me greatly. I feel trapped by them sometimes and don't really know what to do. I woke up today feeling overwhelmed by them and felt I needed to get them out somewhere and this is a place I know where to get them out.
Writing this has surfaced some other thoughts about other things that bother me about the way we live our human lives in the society we've built. But, I think they'd be better suited for their own article later. These topics would be things like plastic and technology. Two things I personally own lots of. It's hard not to.
Edit: It has occurred to me after posting this that I serve ads on this site. Those ads are automatically generated and probably have some trash for sale. I suppose this makes me a hypocrite. But, I as I said above, I didn't write this article to say I'm some sort of saint. I live in this trash society and I am trying to earn a living to keep surviving too while I figure out this wacky game of life. Feel free to judge me though. There is a comments section below.