We’re in week eight of a municipal workers’ strike here in Vancouver, and a lot of people are pretty pissed off about the whole thing. But the tree hugger in me is kind of enjoying it. See, the City’s gardeners are on strike, as are the garbage collectors. Public boulevards haven’t been mowed, annual plantings haven’t been renewed, parks are looking a bit scruffy – and the resulting urban wilderness is kinda cool. Because lawn and garden clippings aren’t been collected by the City, Vancouverites are being encouraged to leave their clippings on the lawn (something we should be doing, anyway).
As for the garbage, well, our alleys and the Downtown Eastside aren’t looking so hot, but there is an upside to it all. No trash pick-up means less trash. Apparently composting has taken off, with compost bins sold out across the city. Hopefully many composting newbees will continue to compost long after the labour dispute is settled.
Although it’s what I strive for, I can’t pretend that I produce zero garbage. I always try to be conscious of the fact that placing trash in a bin isn’t the end of the story – that that bit of plastic will sit in a landfill for eons. And having your trash sit in your backyard or on your balcony for months certainly brings awareness to just how much garbage each of us produces. I hope each of us affected by this strike will take a moment to reconsider our relation to garbage, and rethink the rate at which we produce it.