There is No “Away”
Not too long ago, one of our readers let us know about a philosophy she and her family have adopted that reduces waste and encourages them to be better stewards of the natural world. It’s the mindset is that there is no “away.”
Discarded materials of various sorts continuously leave our residences – in trash bags, through drains and pipes, etc – and go to destinations we often think of collectively as “away.” Too often we don’t conceptualize “away” as what it actually is, or what it could be: landfills, lakes, streams, creeks, drainage ditches, water treatment facilities, natural habitats, parks, junk yards, neighbors’ yards…etc.
When exposed, the true physical location of “away” (such as a landfill or a body of water) doesn’t seem so insignificant anymore. Ultimately, “away” could be anywhere, and what goes “away” doesn’t necessarily go far. Pollutants in the air, contaminants in streams, and garbage in the oceans illustrate that there’s no magical place called “away” where things go to become inconsequential. Whatever we discard is likely to linger back into our lives in some form, so it’s in our best interest to do away with the idea of “away!”