Friday, January 07, 2011

Where there's muck, there's brass

Take a stroll through the streets of Birmingham you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd ended up in the Winter of Discontent. Unemployment is above national average, bin sacks line the street due to industrial action by binmen and a main local employer is moving tax base elsewhere. While for some on the council this is "wet dream" territory... They get to talk tough and criticise unions ..... there is another truth not being covered.

Humanities ability to produce waste on this planet is unreivaled. No other being creates as much waste, nor is there word of anywhere else in the galaxy that has an economic system based on waste. That's right, humanity is unique and not in a good way. However, usually we are not faced with the consequences of our actions. We throw into a black bag and look forward to it being removed pronto. Our waste becomes someone else's problem. So, back to the waste problem. Spring 2010 saw Birmingham City Council loose a court case for pay discrimination. This important ruling made clear that higher weighting of pay in jobs predominantly done by one gender was a form of sexist discrimination. The effect of this ruling included the removal of bonuses paid to refuse collectors at the end of each year. The collectors were upset at this, balloted, went on strike and had one days action. Only the action was soon combined with some public holidays and the coldest winter in 100 years. So, in a freak collision of events a huge backlog of bin sacks was soon piled up on the streets. While the local lib-dems see this as a great excuse to privatise, I see it as a different form of opportunity. It's a chance for the city to see a fraction of the 100,000 tonnes it disposes of annually and be forced to think about what it means. To have happened after Christmas, a season marked now by consumerism rather than a commitment to peace and love, may just provide a chance to pause and reflect.

There is a saying " aim is not to have more but to be more". As we sit surrounded by our rubbish we should consider what we can do to be more, not have more. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to write a flier and create the first Park Avenue swop shop....


  1. Is a flyer a great idea in this world of waste? :-P

  2. A nice post with a good point.

    I didn't know you had a blog! *adds to feed*