May 9, 2008

Talking Trash

I still miss Sacramento's tradition of Annual Junk Day, when my whole neighborhood would become a free flea market for a few days. Residents and travelers could both be found wandering around picking over discarded stuff, and a lot of piles got smaller as many things which still had some use to them were reclaimed by economical Sacramentans.

I couldn't help noticing last week that a few households in my neighborhood had scheduled their new individual annual pick-up day, and that various things awaited a trip to that cemetery of stuff called the dump. One house in particular had 2 armchairs and a sofa that all looked practically new, but because there wasn't much time and only a few places for prospecting, I'm sure they ended up being unnecessarily trashed. What if city staff gave first dibs to the Salvation Army and Goodwill?

I've also noticed that only neighborhoods thought to be in danger of blight have been deprived of their annual garages sale. But this is not the only designated symptom of blight that is ecologically insane. The idea that perfect green lawns keep crime at bay by showing that residents care is trumped by the fact that such lawns require massive amounts of water, mowing and blowing by fossil-fuel machines, and usually various industrial fertilizers and biocides as well, and all of it just so yards don't look like true natural California. No wonder the bees are dying.

If we can't get over our hang-up about appearances, and find some commitment to underlying truth and reality, no amount of government services--police staffing, economic re/development, tax increases, tax cuts, whatever--will help us find a sustainable path to the future.

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