Is nature backwards, or are we? In a world of computers, mobile communication devices and DVD's, we may become 'momentarily' distracted, and fail to appreciate a more sophisticated 'world', upon which our very lives depend.
As society succeeds in producing ever more complex products, its failure to deal wisely with what we no longer use, becomes increasingly problematic. Nature, it appears is far ahead. For unlike in 'modern' human societies, Nature recycles everything it produces.
To give an example, the so-called 'waste gas', carbon dioxide, which we breathe out (along with other gases) is, from a global perspective not strictly speaking waste, at least within limits. For our friends, the green plants, carbon dioxide is a gas, which they depend on for their survival Â– and their survival in turn, supports the survival of billions of other species, including our own.
This web of mutually beneficial relationships is common in nature. Yet human activity seems to step aside, and in so doing risks not only damaging the natural world, but also our own health.
Perhaps we need to take a leaf out of nature's wisdom. But first, a little more about our waste: Only about 11% is recycled. Most is thrown in dustbins and ends up in incinerators or in landfill sites. Such waste mis-management leads to toxic dioxins getting into the air, and toxic metals leaching into the soil and rivers. The Qu'ran warns us of 'corrupt' consequences of our actions, and informs us of their value as a signal to 'turn back':
`Corruption has appeared in both land and sea
Because of what peoples own hands have brought about
so that they may taste something of what they have done
so that hopefully they will turn back.'
Thus, if we have listened to this signal to `turn back', what next?
`But waste not by excess: for God loves not the wasters.'
(Qur'an: 6: 141)
1) Reduce: Before buying something, take a moment to reflect whether or not you really do need it. How important is it really to have that latest techno-gadget? Do you need to do one-sided printing, or will two-sided be fine?
2) Re-Use: If you don't need something anymore Â– don't throw it away! Maybe it's just the thing someone else is looking for. Ask your friends and family. Also, consider buying that book, piece of clothing or furniture second-hand. Does that shopping bag need to go in the bin, or could it too, be re-used?
3) Recycle: Stay in the habit of using your local recycling bank and doorstep recycling facility if you have one, and compost your kitchen and garden refuse if you can. And finally, work environments need some catching up to do too! So if your workplace isn't recycling yet, why not suggest it?