17 January 2009

Don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from!

There are times when an argument put forward is so glaringly flawed, breathtakingly idiotic and utterly without common sense that it defies belief. This I believe is one of them:

Besides, the whole concept that we’re “running out of room” to put our garbage and/or have landfills is absolutely ridiculous. If you took every man woman and child currently living on the Earth (6,706,993,152 as of July 2008) and moved them all to Australia we’d each still have roughly a third of an acre of our own private land (Australia is roughly 2,967,909 sq mi. There are 640 acres in a square mile which means there are 1,899,461,760 acres in Australia. Divided by the Earth’s population, we each get 0.28 acres). That would leave the entire rest of the planet empty. Do you not think we could fit both recreational area as well as vast amounts of landfill space on all of North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia? Of course I’m not suggesting that we undertake such a ridiculous plan, but it should clarify that the Earth has plenty of empty land that could be used for waste disposal.”

Morgan Hill Review

I am flabbergasted that any sane person would put forward such a ludicrous suggestion. Even with the caveat at the end of the paragraph. In fact, that makes it worse “the Earth has plenty of empty land that could be used for waste disposal”.

I don't know of any vast tracts of empty land that could be better used as a landfill. Lake Marian in Fiordland National Park near th...Image via WikipediaPerhaps the beautiful Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. Its full of sandflies and really doesn't serve any useful purpose.

Rippling Sahara DesertImage by nunavut via FlickrThe Sahara desert, I guess, really isn't the most productive area, we could do without that.

grand canyon sunsetImage by Ron Layters via FlickrOh, the Grand Canyon – you wouldn't even have to dig a hole there!

Honestly, have people become so deeply disconnected with the land that they only see it as having value if it is under cultivation, making money, or directly and measurably benefiting the needs of humankind?

The whole idea that there is “plenty of empty land that could be used for waste disposal” calls to mind the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. If we continue to squander the planets natural resource as we are, if we pay no mind to the mindnumbingly vast quantities of waste we produce as a result of our consumption, then sooner or later we will find ourselves sitting in front of a pile of dirty dishes.

Nature is not here to serve us. It will continue on perfectly well long after we are gone from the planet. However, we will not fare so well if the earth's eco-system becomes irreversibly changed and can no longer sustain the conditions we need for our continued survival. Its in our best interests to consume wisely, to live lightly, and to value the environment in and of itself.

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