Friday, April 13, 2007

World Series

What I would do if I were to become the supreme dictator of the United States. My wife and I were talking about this early yesterday morning at breakfast, so I decided to write a little series to tell what I would do if I were in charge to highlight some of the major unsustainable parts of our society.

I'll try to keep it to issues regarding sustainable living, renewable energy and the like, but I cannot guarantee that there won't be some politics in there as well. This is not an actual bid to become supreme dictator of anything, it merely highlights what I think the problems in our society are. And yes, some of these changes are huge and expensive, but sacrifices must be made to reach our goals. Unfortunately, sweeping changes no longer exist in this country, so here goes.

My first target as Supreme Leader of the United States of America is the waste disposal system of this country. Effective in one year would be the complete elimination of organic waste, metal, and glass from the trash system.

Here is the focus of a capitalist society: With me as the Supreme Leader, new markets would be born overnight, companies would have to do what is necessary to adjust their focus, market, and products.

I would launch a massive campaign to educate people about compost, and there would have to be massive new composting facilities that would have to jump up immediately. If we could teach people to compost their organic waste at home, (those who can) the excess needed to be processed could be limited. There are several cities like SF (I think) who have large composting facilities. Nova Scotia has a great organic material processing facilities as well.

Metals are the most recyclable materials that exist, and glass is also there on the list. So they will be separated from the waste stream at the consumer level and be picked up separately just like another trash can.

Paper will be disposed with the organic material since paper can be composted just like food. In fact, right now I am doing an experiment at home where I am composting grass clippings and using shredded paper as the carbon source. It creates some really hot compost, enough to burn you. At least I know those weed seeds will be dead.

Effective in two years, residential sewage lines will be decommissioned. People would need to get ahold of composting toilets, or figure out how to compost their waste using a sawdust toilet or other soon to be invented toilet technology. Incinerating toilets will not be allowed to exceed their current production levels because while they are sometimes necessary, they are almost 100% wasteful. Grey water will need to be treated in some manner on site or in local small treatment plants and used to water lawns and gardens. This will take an enormous burden off the public water supply saving money and energy. Also, removing human waste from the sewers will take an enormous burden off the sewage treatment plants which will keep more nutrients and pollutants out of our oceans and streams and water that otherwise could be purified into drinking water.

Composted organic waste will have to be disposed of, since there will be so much more of it (composted instead of wasted) than there was before, we cannot expect people just to buy all of it. But it could easily just be dumped on consenting farmer's farm land. It could be used to rehabilitate sections of land left unusable by strip mining, logging, or excessive erosion.

There would be more focus on mulching mowers to process yard waste, and composting bins and piles would be infinitely more common. Hopefully there would be more home gardens also, as ways to recycle nutrients.

Ok, so that's the first day's reforms.

And this is totally open to discussion, I welcome comments.

Next time, we discuss cars and gas mileage.

Your favorite Supreme Ruler,

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