“Put one less egg in the fry pan for me.” Grandpa announced as he set the basketful of fresh eggs on the pantry shelf. “I found a cracked one in the hen house and ate it while finishing chores.”
Grandpa and Grandma Warren had a much different mindset and relationship to the land than most of us do today. Resources were highly valued, not to be wasted or tossed aside casually, even a cracked raw egg. As much as possible, their farm operated under a “circular economy” where resources continually cycled through natural processes. Cow manure fertilized the soil to grow the crops that fed the cows who produced milk and created more manure.
Much of today’s economy operates in a more linear fashion. We extract resources, create products, use them up and toss the residue in the landfill, down the river or into the atmosphere. It’s a system that’s brought us great comfort and convenience while also creating problems like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating trash heap that’s twice the size of Texas. According to the current edition of “National Geographic” two-thirds of everything we take from the Earth is wasted. This system is destined to fail.
It’s time for a new mindset, one in which resources continually circle back to be used again and again. It’s time to shift to a model where trash is all but non-existent. Pie in the sky you say? Perhaps not; waste is a design flaw. In the natural world there is no such thing as waste.
Entrepreneurs and businesses are tuning in to the growing economic opportunities for repairing, reusing, refurbishing, recycling and repurposing materials and for composting and microbial digestion of biological matter. And the use of renewable energy resources is expanding dramatically. National Geographic states, “A world without waste sounds impossible. But the vision of a circular economy – where we use resources sparingly and recycle materials endlessly – is inspiring businesses and environmentalist alike.”
Ecclesiastes reminds us, ”There is a time for everything.” Grandpa Warren would agree; NOW is the time for a shift in mindset. Each of us in our own way can practice a more circular use of resources. It’s the path to a brighter future here on our only home where we’re all forever… Earthbound.