Monday, December 24, 2007

How to Recycle Anything

Significant changes in societies or organisations, it has been suggested, tend to begin at the margins of those same societies.

If that thesis is true, we ought not to be surprised if some of the most significant changes over the coming 20 years look at the moment like eccentricities - literally, things "outside of the centre".

A web site caught my eye recently that seems to be a good example of this.
How can I recycle this? (as the name suggests) is a site devoted to exploring practical ways of re-using and recycling... everything. If reduction, re-use and re-cycling are the watch words of grass roots environmental activism, those concerned about such issues ought surely to be able to think through practical solutions to everyday challenges.

Recent items to receive the how can I...? treatment include bent knitting needles, car bumpers, foam swimming floats and broken Christmas tree lights. The articles range from the inspired to the quirky, which is what we would expect from a site that is at the margins rather than the mainstream.

This quirkiness, however, ought not to obscure the fact that, while political leaders dither, the world continues to heat up at an alarming rate. In 20 years' time, it may be widely accepted that the answers to this crisis lay on the fringe with individuals and groups who were willing to risk ridicule and articulate different ways of thinking about production, consumption and conservation of the world's finite natural resources.

Personally, I find it more convincing than the alternative - paying lip service to environmentalism while doing virtually nothing to change things.

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