Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I watched a show today called something like "Weird U.S.: The underground." It was just two guys that traveled around the united states looking at the secret underground worlds that our country was built upon. One of the cities they visited was St. Paul, Minnesota where a vast network of caves used to hide a speak easy during prohibition and an underground hide-out for notorious mobsters. The caves are still a hot spot for those of the night but only the front few rooms. Farther into the caves, they came across rooms off the main passage way and of course they investigated. Well what they found was garbage and the ruins of cities that had been ruined. When the rubble was cleared they had no where to dump it except in the caves where they figured it wouldn't hurt anyone. True we've been dealing with the environmental impact of garbage but what is ironic to me is that long after we are gone and our grand-children are doing their own study of garbage, our left-overs will still remain to tell out story. The footprint of garbage is much larger then I always imagine because it spans space, distance and time.

Lately I've been feeling really discouraged about the waste we generate: both the amount and the environmental impact. I've felt like there isn't any way to stop it; like we've already crossed the line. But for some reason the thought of garbage acting like a time capsule, long after we are gone (while partly gross) made me not so distressed about our garbage. Because not only our garbage but what we are trying to do with it to improve the condition of our earth will also be present for future generations to study and build upon. I know Royte talks about garbage excavators in our book and while I have no desire to actually go and do this I imagine it would be fascinating to see what people have left behind. People that may be long forgotten are still present through their trash. To me that gives garbage a whole new meaning and I just wanted to share that with all of you.

1 comment:

Michelle Verges, Project Director said...


Thanks for your post, which got me thinking about the concept of legacies and inheritance. As you said, "our left-overs will still remain to tell our story..." to our grandkids and so on.

Your comment made me wonder about how I would feel if I actually inherited garbage from a dying family member.

What a morbid thought, I know.

Quite honestly, it sounds so dispicable to me...when I think of inheriting something, I think of artifacts that hold some kind of sentimental (or monetary) value. I certainly don't think of garbage in this context.

But you're right, and I love the way you said it, "garbage...spans space, distance, and time." So what does this garbage legacy mean to future generations? What does this garbage legacy mean to us now?