Wednesday, July 13, 2005

David Foster Wallace - Are you reading this?

In his book The Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace discusses a future where America's trash problem is so bad, that the gameshow host who becomes president wins on a platform based upon shooting the trash into space. When this is found to be unfeasible, he proposes that all of the trash be catapulted into Canada (or the Great Concavity) and subsequently creates a massive crater from Quebec eastward. This is funded by selling off the years to corporations, making most of this story set in the Year of Glad, and inadvertently fuelling insurgent groups such as the Wheelchair Assassins out of the francophone province to rise up against the American system with a video tape so entertaining it leads to an addiction that results in starvation. And I could go on….

But needless to say, Wallace has pinpointed one of the problems of our time. Waste.

Now, 50,000 tonnes a day are shipped out of New York state alone, into their neighbouring states on trains, as municipalities have taken up the practice of buying waste from cities.

Last year Virginia on its own took in 7.8 million tonnes of 'Yankee' trash.

They are looking into boats to ship the stuff down the East coast.

And the Sierra Club's Town raises this point: “Transporting all of this garbage so far away means that the people that generate it don't have to deal with its consequences. And if that's the case, where is their incentive to create less of it?”


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