Trashing the Planet: Examining Our Global Garbage Glut
Stuart A. Kallen
Twenty-First Century Books
Available August 1, 2017
Humans produce an incredible (or incredibly gross) amount of trash each year. Garbage ends up in landfills, rivers, oceans, and even in space. Controlling this waste to keep it from polluting air and water supplies is a monumental task. Scientists continue to learn more about the impact of waste and chemicals on the environment. Exciting new inventions create opportunities for cleanup to proceed quickly, allowing humans to undo some of the damage done to the environment. But as the mess took a global effort to make, it will take a massive effort to clean up, and understanding how garbage is managed is an important step in that process.
This book made me think much more deeply about the problems we face in terms of disposing waste. It describes some of the complications many landfills wrestle with on a daily basis and what will happen if toxins from these sites leach into our water supply.
There’s been a lot of focus within the current government about rolling back regulations to allow for more unhindered growth of businesses and industries. Without really going into that debate, I’ll say this book raised some important examples from history on why we developed many of those regulations to begin with. One of the things which surprised me was how often the EPA intervenes not just for wildlife protection but for protection for human lives from toxins which have had terrible impact on our health.
My favorite part of the book, though, was learning about some of the amazing solutions being developed to combat the garbage problem. From cities using methane produced by landfills as trash decomposes for an energy source to a trash filtration system which aims to use the oceans’ naturally occurring currents to remove garbage from the water. We may have made a big mess, but we have some amazing people with some incredible ideas working hard to help reduce and hopefully eliminate these problems. It doesn’t mean we can afford to sit back and let them handle things. It’s still so important to get educated—and this book is an excellent starting point. But it’s comforting to know there are solutions, and we can make a difference.
The book focuses a lot on the way trash is dealt with in America but contains sections dedicated to inventors from other countries who’ve had really cool ideas for ways to better manage garbage.
Profanity/Crude Language Content