A recent New York Times article called our city "the Silicon Valley of Recycling". Apparently our garbage monopoly, the creatively named Recology, is a tourist attraction for waste disposal authorities from all over the world.
“It’s like a modern art installation,” marveled Mauro Battocchi, the Italian consul general here. “So fabulous — the people and machines and objects of our lives all working together.”
Foreign officials and others come here to pick up tips on how to handle their own mushrooming piles of garbage back home. ... One group included Bruno Hug de Larauze, president of the Chamber of Commerce in Brittany, France, who likens Recology to an Uber or Airbnb for waste that shows how technology and capitalism can change the world. Plus, the place is just impressive, Mr. de Larauze said.
“It was the wow effect. It was incredible,” he said of his first visit (he’s been twice), and added with a laugh, “It smelled, let me be frank.”
The article makes no mention of another component part of our waste disposal system: the trashpickers who wander the streets, searching for any bit of metal or other goods that can be sold for pennies to commercial recycling operations.
Friends in San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland can find out a great deal more about the lives of these human cogs in the garbage world at one of these showings. If you can, don't miss this sensitive film.
This San Francisco purveyor of graffiti has it right. When times are bleak -- when country and planet sink under the barely restrained sway of greed, raw power, and fear -- it's time to restate what matters.
I write here to preserve and kindle hope for a national and global turn toward multi-racial, economically egalitarian, gender non-constricting, woman affirming, and peace choosing democracy that preserves the habitability of earth for all. There's a big order -- but what else is there to do but struggle for this? Not much.
Topics range from the minuscule to the transcendent to the global, from dire to delightful. I am not an optimist, but I refuse to allow myself to wallow within the easy bias that everything is going to always be awful. Good also happens; love lives too.
I've been yammering here about activism, politics, history, racism and other occasional horrors and pleasures since 2005. I intend to continue as long as the opportunity exists. In this time, that means activism and chronicling resistance. Perhaps it always has, one way and another.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. Will work for justice.