Friday, January 9, 2009

A NEO-MALTHUSIAN GARBAGE STRIKE: A Civil Rights Protest for The Age of Overshoot

Here is an idea. Folks of my generation recall the famous Memphis garbage strike in the late 60s when predominantly African-American refuse collectors in Memphis, Tennessee got fed up with being treated like garbage. They worked at a dirty, disgusting and physically taxing job, so necessary to public health and city life, but were very poorly remunerated for it, and received no respect for the work they were doing. Then Dr. Martin Luther King weighed in, and gave a memorable speech that was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. I remember him at the mike before an audience of sanitation workers and their supporters and saying loudly, “I am a garbage collector, I am a man, I AM SOMEBODY.” The crowd went wild. That was my recollection.

Imagine if we were to pull off our own garbage strike. Boldly and ostentatiously before public eyes, we arranged to be seen to mix our garbage. Our plastics, our newspapers and our bottles all coalesced with fruit and vegetable peelings, empty tin cans and the like. Before cameras and witnesses, we made a public statement that we weren’t going to pick up after the corporate agenda anymore. They didn’t care about being demographic litterbugs so we decided that we were no longer going to be their mothers, picking up after them where ever they went and cleaning up their rooms.

If they and their supporters, or the green yuppies in the environmental NGOs, were not going to call them out for their littering, we were no longer going to play the patsies. It was mass immigration and birth incentives which were turning our environment into a dump, not the “million acts of green” that were not happening. We’ll stop filling the landfill when they stop filling the country with more and more landfillers. Fair enough?

According to a study done by the Stockholm Institute, one newcomer to Britain erases 80 lifetimes of responsible and conscientious recycling. As long as an unsustainable torrent of immigrants are encouraged to enter the country, conservation and recycling are nothing more than a do-good, feel-good distraction from the main project, which is stopping population growth. Until government at any level is sincere in containing and reversing growth, then we should not be complicit in their cowardly diversion of managing it. A "million acts of green" do not compensate for Canada's 33 million acts of consumption.

I am a neo-Malthusian. A garbage mixer. And I am SOMEBODY.

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