Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fancy Multilayer Disposable Carcasses

"The really great thing about finding an alternative to commercial soymilk is that most commercial soymilk has such wasteful packaging. Do-it-yourself seed milk just goes in a jar, no fancy multilayer disposable carcass required." -Sandor Katz, Wild Fermentation

These words strike me deeply. When I hear "carcass" I think of the remnants of an antelope rotting on an African plain after a lion feasted on it's innards. Gross visual? Probably. But the depressing thing is that the antelope carcass scenario is much more beautiful than that of the soymilk carcass.

How can an antelope carcass be beautiful? Well think about the energy flow of that system. Lion gets energy from eating the antelope, followed by scavengers like vultures. After that bacteria will feast on the leftovers to decompose the rotting flesh into compounds that will nourish the soil below it. And guess what comes from healthy soil? Plants. Grasses may grow from the soil, feeding more antelopes and helping the cycle start over again.

Let's compare this to the soymilk carcass. The "fancy multilayer disposable carcass" will most likely be thrown away (probably can't be recycled because most soymilk carcasses are foil on the inside and paper on the outside...). The carcass will then be transported to a landfill to make friends with other carcasses, where it will decompose after many years and nourish nothing. The end.

But this isn't the story of one carton of soymilk. This is the story of everything that you "throw away". Just because your trash goes "away" does not mean it disappears. Each item that is thrown away continues on, and the consequences of this effects everyone (See Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

Why should the responsibility of the consumer end when the garbage truck arrives?

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