The age of coexistence with waste

Garbage is actually one of the material heritage left by human ancestors to later generations. What people possess and discard is often more accurate, detailed, and truthful about their past lives than they themselves. Junk archaeology analyzes the rubbish of the ancients and understands their social relationships and behavior habits.

Continued economic growth has led to consumption expansion. At the same time, it has also caused large-scale waste, resulting in a sharp decline in ecological resources and environmental pollution. This is exactly what the American sociologist Schneeberger proposed in the 1980s as “hard labor”. Treadmill”. The rapid development of urbanization and industrialization has also accelerated the vicious circle of production and consumption. Nowhere to put garbage, wanton discharge of sewage, spreading new viruses… In the era of coexistence with waste, human beings are gradually adapting to the harsh living environment while trying their best to change the status quo, but facing the roar of nature , The power of human beings to reverse the situation is minimal.

The derivation of rubbish and the anxiety caused by it
If one can tell his taste from the books he has read, then one can also understand his lifestyle from the garbage he produces. Many people treat rubbish by throwing it away, but they have not noticed that rubbish is actually one of the material heritage left by human ancestors to later generations. What kind of garbage is produced by people. What they have and what they discard are often more accurate, detailed, and truthful to tell their past lives than they themselves. If human beings can fully understand what they have discarded, they will be able to understand the world within them. Thus was born garbage archaeology, which analyzes the garbage of the ancients and understands their social relations and behavior habits. When talking about the primitive garbage dumps in southwestern America, the archaeologist Emile Howell asserted: “No matter how people look at these mounds, they regard them as nasty garbage dumps or symbols of lifestyles. It reveals more information than other things.” The fact is also true. The British archaeologist Leonard Uri judged that this was the place where the garbage was dumped from a ditch connecting the largest mounds. The exposed bottom layer judges the age of the entire ancient city of Kalkimish.

For archaeologists, the so-called “material culture” has always occupied the focus of research. They searched for ancient ruins or garbage dumps, trying to find clues from the artifacts and food of the ancients. The artifacts can travel through the barriers of time and space to interpret the life pictures of human beings in different eras, and can also establish the correlation between physical evidence or environment and specific thinking patterns, habits or personal characteristics, and use this as a basis for classifying. Human beings are born to make garbage to indicate their existence. Cans, corrugated cartons, and packaging materials are all frequent visitors to landfills. Among the abandoned waste products, there is a relatively fixed pattern of association between humans and garbage, which can even be traced back to The characteristics of human groups and their behavior habits, the loyalty of users to different brands are examined, and then the amount of specific rubbish is crossed to the estimation of the population. These fragments of civilization finally piece together a social and historical picture. However, garbage archeology is by no means easy. The hardest thing is that the garbage archaeologists are exposed to the harsh environment of the garbage burial site, using augers to penetrate into different parts of the garbage yard, and then process the garbage samples from the selected floors. It must be repeated at different locations and depths. In addition, microbiologists and civil engineers are required to place the samples in an oxygen-free airtight container for later analysis.

The American archaeologist Kidd was the first to reveal the importance of ancient ruins and rubbish. Human beings instinctively separate garbage from the place where they live. When the house is fixed, the only thing to be removed is garbage. That is to say, it is the crisis of garbage that forces the change of human behavior patterns, and has since moved towards civilization. road. Over time, the landfilled garbage has gradually piled up. They are called “mounds” by archaeologists. Among them, “indecomposable” garbage is the most tenacious and occupies a large proportion. Layers of coverage have led to the rise of the city’s terrain. , From the geographical section of ancient Troy city, we can see how the city disposes of garbage. Even so, the way humans dispose of garbage is essentially nothing new: dumping, incineration, recycling, and reducing the volume of objects. However, these four methods are not expedient. What is even more jaw-dropping is that trash also reveals that human behavior patterns are often difficult to move in nature, and wantonly waste. It is also the misfortune of society to continue to innovate and create trash. “Like, hate, and discard”. In this cycle, manufacturing and inventing products is tantamount to manufacturing garbage. The original intention of disposable sterilized gloves and plastic products was to ensure that patients were not infected by bacteria, but they created mountains of garbage.

Disposal of garbage is expensive
The practice of burying garbage since ancient times is to assimilate the garbage with the soil to control the smell. Old landfills are filled up, and new landfills are hard to find. Even with the continuous updating of technology, there is no perfect way to dispose of waste. “Advanced technology is not a contraceptive, but a stimulant.” The advent of the paperless era does not alleviate human anxiety about garbage. The prevalence of computers has not eliminated paper from now on, but has made it easier than ever to make lengthy documents. Therefore, The myth that books and papers become historical relics has never been realized.

When people were desperate for rubbish everywhere, the completion of the Fresh River Park in the United States was breathtaking-this landfill covering an area of ​​about 9 square kilometers in the late 1940s has been transformed into an ecological park. Undertaking the task of landfilling fixed domestic waste in New York. Today, the world’s largest landfill has been transformed into an ecological landscape park integrating leisure, entertainment, culture and education, becoming the largest urban park in New York City. The British documentary “Trash Warrior” shows the architect Renault has gone deep into the desert wasteland of New Mexico for more than 30 years, collecting abandoned bottles, cans and tires to build a house. The transparent roof constructed from various glass bottles collects sunlight during the day and relies on nature. He is self-sufficient in rain and wind, and thoroughly practices environmental protection from the lifestyle. His concept also affects a group of people around him to turn waste into treasure. It can be seen that there is no rubbish in the world, only misplaced treasures. The philosophy of rubbish reveals the truth about people and things, and the best that can stay. Behind “buy, buy, buy” is “throw, throw and throw”. From passive things to active things, the reuse of resources is not only the source of sustainable development, but also provides an opportunity for mankind to revisit the excessive consumption of cities.

Silent testimony flowing wantonly
The documentary “Plastic Ocean” hits the ocean full of plastic garbage. Even if it is broken down into fragments, harmful substances are still attached. A large number of fish die after eating. Humans cannot escape the trap of the food chain in the end, and are worthy of the name. Just like Emerson said: “We enjoy our dinner elegantly, and the bloody slaughterhouse is carefully hidden.” Human beings slaughter other species in order to satisfy their selfish desires, and those who died in vain are taking revenge in the dark. Pollution mostly exists like a ghost. In London in the mid-19th century, millions of residents poured waste water into the Thames River. In the high temperature of the summer, the river became “big stench”. Queen Victoria, who was so dizzy, temporarily cancelled the plan to go boating.

In the novel “Tough Times”, Dickens wrote: “This is a city full of machines and towering chimneys. Outside the city is always covered with endless vicious soot, which will never disperse. There are so many malignant tumors. In the same building, the sound of rattling vibrations rang from the windows full of walls all day long, and the piston of the steam engine moved monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant suffering from depression and madness.” In an industrial city. The smoke from the towering chimneys indicates the normal operation of society, and at the same time it tacitly acknowledges that pollution is eroding people’s breath unscrupulously. Is environmental pollution inextricably linked to disease outbreaks? Dan Fagin, director of the “Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Project” of the Arthur Carter Institute of Journalism, has focused on cancer epidemiology investigations during his 15-year career as a journalist. He wrote the book “Toms River-An America” “The Story of Cancer Village”. He used non-fictional documentary methods to record the global expansion of chemical companies, visited governments, companies, environmental organizations, and innocent people implicated in Toms River Town, focusing on tracing the progress of pollution incidents with numbers and examples.

Toms River Town was once a small town in New Jersey, USA. If there were no pollution and disease, the people there would have lived a peaceful and beautiful life. But this dream came to nothing in the 1950s. With the arrival of the world’s three major chemical giants-Ciba, Gegi and Sandoz, on the one hand, it promoted the town’s economic development, but on the other In the next five years, the town’s water supply system became abnormal. However, chemical companies could never stop on the way to chase profits, so the treatment of pollutants was transferred to underground secrets. They discharged arsenic-containing wastewater into nearby rivers, and dumped unidentified and untreated waste into open-pit mines and sewage ponds without anti-seepage measures. In the past nearly a century, the pollution discharged to the Rhine, Ohio and other waters has long proved that dye production is a pollution-intensive industry, but even if measured by the low standards of the dye industry, the production of vat dyes is even worse. A major rule of the chemical industry is that every step of the production process will reduce efficiency and increase waste.

In the mid-19th century, many European and American cities used gas and coke instead of candles, animal fat and wood as their main light and heat sources and fuels. Both coal gas and coke are obtained by high-temperature combustion of coal in an oxygen-deficient state. In this process, a viscous and unpleasant brown liquid is produced, which is called coal tar. But without distillation, coal tar has poor sealing performance, and its toxicity is that it will produce harmful black smoke when burned directly, and there will be no grass around it after landfill. There is a toxic component in coal tar, which later played an important role in the town of Toms River. Now, using the template of hydrocarbon polymers in coal tar, chemists have begun to build a world of new materials that are more powerful, fascinating, and cheaper than nature provides. Dyes, paints, solvents, aspirin, sweeteners, laxatives, detergents, inks, anesthetics, cosmetics, adhesives, developers, waterproof membranes, resins and early plastics are all from the source of the chemical industry-coal tar .

The Toms River affects the local economy and the health of residents. Chemical companies have been built along the river in order to discharge sewage and dispose of waste. The money spent on pollution control is to save money. Local residents risk their health and join the chemical plant. The local water company and the chemical plant reached a secret agreement. , And released the findings of the “Absolute Drinking Water Safety” survey. Everything went silent until the town broke out one after another with children suffering from cancer, and it developed to the panic of all residents about cancer in the 1990s, and Thomas River Town became a veritable “cancer village” from a model of economic development. Under the intervention of the environmental protection organization “Greenpeace”, the sewage pipe ruptured and all the truth surfaced, and the Toms River Town Chemical Plant came to an end.

The ecological changes in Fresh River Park have attracted birds to inhabit and build nests.

The manager of Fresh River Park is checking the survivability of sea turtles.

The wells in the Fresh River Park are used to collect the gas released by the buried waste, and the gas is used to power local households after the gas is processed.

The predecessor of Fresh River Park was a domestic waste landfill in the last century, and today it has been transformed into an ecological park.

This protracted environmental defense battle is the result of unknown scientists and local people constantly tracking the truth. The Gillick family played a role in uncovering the secret history of Toms River Town: in the middle of the night, using dense forests as a cover to evade smoke, The company is pursuing profit without a bottom line, and the government is blind to environmental pollution… But unfortunately, the case of Toms River Town cannot fully meet the scientific requirements, because no one can know for sure the water and air between 1962 and 1996. What compound is in it and what is its concentration. The water may have a smell, and the smoke may have a color, but the exact reason is always a mystery, because environmental monitoring was rarely carried out at that time. The people of Toms River Town are like frogs in warm water. They lose their guard against poisons that are invisible, touchable, and sometimes even smelt. They are immersed in a container containing chemical waste generated in the production process. The colorful smoke in the air, spreading from the plume of underground pollutants and penetrating into the blood, has become silent testimony amidst the noise.

The silence before ecological extinction
Global warming, energy shortages, air pollution…a series of environmental problems are forcing a sharp decline in the ideal living environment of mankind. In 1962, the publication of “Silent Spring” aroused human attention to the global environment. The shrinking and exhaustion of nature increasingly violated the details of life, and even breathing became cautious, but most people could not hear the truth from nature. , Even if you can deeply feel the traces of the erosion of the original beautiful environment, you can’t find the way to solve the problem, and you can’t do anything. However, as former US Vice President Al Gore said in the preface of the book: “Since we endure it, we should have the right to know.”

As a marine biologist who studies fish and wild resources, Rachel Carson endured his illness and wrote “Silent Spring”. The impact of the book’s publication far exceeds that of a non-fictional book on environmental protection. The enlightenment for mankind has not only caused the public and public opinion to pay attention to environmental issues, but also urged governments of various countries to pay attention to this issue: environmental protection organizations were established one after another, the Environmental Protection Agency was established, and the United Nations held the Human Environment Conference in Stockholm in 1972. , Adopted the “Declaration of the Human Environment.” “”Silent Spring” sowed the seeds of new activism, and it has been deeply rooted in the masses of the people. After Carson’s death in the spring of 1964, everything became clear and her voice would never be silent. She It is not only our country, but even the whole world that wakes up. The publication of “Silent Spring” should be properly regarded as the beginning of the modern environmental movement.” In 1992, “Silent Spring” was selected as the most influential in the past 50 years. The book, Rachel Carson’s personal investigation and research, left a natural apocalypse for later generations.

Stills from the movie “Never Compromise”.

Stills from the movie “Black Water”.

However, there are always a few who have the courage to stand up-the single mother who seeks justice for the polluted residents in the movie “Never Compromise”, and the defense lawyer who filed a lawsuit against the chemical giant DuPont in “Black Water”. The 2018 documentary “The Devil You Know and I Know” once again aimed at DuPont. The product line of this veteran company with a history of more than 200 years covers people’s daily lives. The company has shown a good reputation and superior productivity in front of the public. On the other hand, they are doing shameful deeds, discharging the toxic C8 waste water at will without treatment. The famous brand in the eyes of the public is just a devil wearing a mask.

On the road to rights protection, more and more people dare to expose the environmental disasters caused by the capital interest chain. Rachel Carson is also one of them. Since the publication of “Silent Spring”, the questioning has never stopped, and when the book was widely circulated, the resistance became stronger and chemical companies blocked in every possible way. The critics attacked indiscriminately, and some even pointed the irony at Rachel Carson’s gender, which is extremely absurd. Even in the face of the scene of piercing arrows, Carson is still full of confidence, respecting the facts on one side, and extraordinary courage on the other. When there is an imbalance between the survival of human beings and the balance of nature, people’s indifference is tantamount to chronic suicide. The environment concerns everyone’s interests and is the self-saving of all people on earth. The current environment has put humans in a dangerous situation, as she said: “We are suffering from full-scale pollution from exposed chemicals. Animal experiments have proved that they are extremely toxic, and in many cases their effects will accumulate. This kind of The infringement begins at or before birth. If we do not change our methods, this infringement will run through the entire life course. No one knows what the outcome will be, because we have never had such an experience.”

Rachel Carson painted a city swallowed up by the harsh environment: flocks of poultry and livestock were attacked by mysterious diseases, new diseases spread to every household, and the crisp and sweet bird song disappeared. Instead, fields and woods covered with silence, dry fish ponds, dying plants, and ghosts of death are everywhere. Pesticides, pesticides, exhaust gas, and releasing elements (such as “horrible rain”) reside in the soil, enter the growing grains, and then penetrate into the human body through meals. This series of toxic chains is just a microcosm of many pollution sources, as if stones are thrown into a calm pond, and the ever-expanding ripples of death spread from this. The scary thing is that through some unknown chemical interactions, they produce new and unbreakable toxicity under the interaction of conversion and superposition. As Abbott Schevezer said: “It is very difficult for people to identify their own creations. Out of the devil.”

In the early spring of 2019, some local people in Malaysia dumped chemical waste into the river. Under the effect of high temperature, the poisonous gas continued to spread within a week. Nearly 1,000 people were sent to hospital due to poisoning, and hundreds of schools were closed indefinitely. With the deepening of the industrialization process, chemical drugs are readily available in daily life. However, what follows is that human beings lack common sense and wantonly abuse and cause disasters. This kind of disease is not significant at first, nor is it a large-scale outbreak of natural disasters, but is harmful to the human body under the action of drug accumulation, long-term latent, and breaks the line of defense by taking advantage of it. Sub-health problems related to this are common. Mental illness is also caused by chemical drugs destroying the nervous system. Human beings personally transform society into what they expect, but nature suffers indescribably in the process. The chemical weapons used to deal with pests are inadvertently turning against humans themselves. Mankind has written a record of destroying nature as it advances toward its declared goal of conquering nature.

Rachel Carson’s writing warns the overly optimistic majority, as she said: “The road we have been driving for a long time makes it easy to mistakenly believe that it is a comfortable and flat super highway on which we can travel. Advance at high speed. In fact, disaster awaits at the end of this road. Another fork of this road—a fork that seldom goes by—provides us with the only last chance to let We keep our planet.” Contemporary people directly or indirectly absorb many chemical substances in their daily lives. In order to prevent the human body from being flooded with a periodic table of elements, it is imperative to adopt sustainable development in viewpoints and actions.

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