Monday, February 6, 2012
When I was traveling in Ecuador, I spent a week in the small village of Quilotoa, high in the Andes. It is an amazing thing to find yourself in such natural majesty as these breathtaking mountaintops. What was troubling, though, was the trash. Lush green slopes rise beside ravines littered with colorful wrappers and other debris. As increasing varieties of processed and packaged consumer goods make their way into these villages, the trash piles up. Such communities haven't yet developed a method for dealing with this trash. It really made me think again about the waste we humans produce, and especially, we Americans. Seeing the stark contrast between the natural beauty and the man-made junk was jarring. I have made many small changes in my habits in an effort to reduce my own waste--cloth napkins, reusable food containers and shopping bags, fewer processed foods and trinkets, for example. But as I sit here now in my home, I see how surrounded I am by packaging and products, rooms full of non-biodegradable things. I feel a little sorrow in my heart, and while I enjoy my possessions, I know most of them are unnecessary.