Friday, June 30, 2017

Drawdown - Guidance for Policymakers

In The Humanure Handbook, Joseph Jenkins assails our habit of wasting things.
We have kitchen “waste,” garden “waste,” agricultural “waste,” human “waste,” municipal “waste,” “biowaste,” and on and on. Yet, our long-term survival requires us to learn to live in harmony with our host planet. This also requires that we understand natural cycles and incorporate them into our day to day lives. In essence, this means that we humans must attempt to eliminate waste altogether. 
In Don DeLillo's novel, Underworld, the waste underlying modern life resurfaces throughout the tale. The advocates at eco-cycle Solutions are all about solving the waste problem. They and the folks at Trash-Free Maryland were surely disappointed when Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced an end to Maryland's Plan to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Nearly All Waste Generated in Maryland by 2040.

Stepping away from waste reduction is a mistake. We can benefit both economically and environmentally by improving industrial and residential recycling. According to research in the Drawdown project, household and industrial recycling each have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.77 GtCO2 eq if practiced globally. They also bring lifetime savings of $71 billion apiece. Those savings do not even include related solutions such as paper recycling, biochar, and composting. The solutions to global warming in Drawdown are posited as
“no regrets” solutions—actions that make sense to take regardless of their climate impact since they have intrinsic benefits to communities and economies. 
Hogan's decision to set aside the zero waste plan may be defensible if he, instead, prioritizes other, higher ranking solutions in the Drawdown list. There are several for him to choose from. They will all be needed soon, so he shouldn't neglect waste reduction for long.

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