On Earth Day we could talk about the recent smoky air (which has cleared), the amount of electricity that an ancient refrigerator must use, the interesting biological experiment we have going on in our pool (which hasn’t been cleaned in over 6 weeks and is a massive mosquito breeding ground, in spite of the chlorine we’ve been dumping in), or what it’s been like to not drive a car for six weeks. Another fascinating topic: the attitudes and awareness of environmental issues in Argentina – how they might differ from the US, or between the rich and the poor, or more and less educated. I’ve seen people spray (bare-handed and whilst inhaling the air) small ant hills with enough strong poison to kill five cows. Likewise in the US. Mari also carefully washes out the same tiny ziplock baggie though it’s been used a dozen times (they’re remarkably expensive here). There’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while now, The Ecology of Rich and Poor. We’re all a bunch of contradictions, motivated by complex driving forces.
How about we discuss garbage. The bags had been hung on the tree stand with care, with visions of hungry dogs jumping high in the air. That’s the trick, putting out the bags high enough – or ensconced enough – so that a hungry dog won’t have dug out the meat bones before the truck comes by in the wee hours of the morning. Every garbage “stand” is different. Wooden, metal, plastic. Rustic, art deco, modern. Most are free-standing, some are nailed to trees, or some just are trees. Just like in the US, we carefully gather and tie up our refuse to be taken away by invisible people to some distant place. The garbage divide.
How about recycling, you ask. Nothing official. Empty wine bottles and plastic jugs can be placed on the ground below the garbage bags and sometimes the recycling elves, or young kids, whisk them away to a better life. We just read Michael Pollan’s NYT editorial on gardening and Chris has been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma while we’ve been here. It pains us to throw away banana peels, apple cores, and spinach stems but only the flies would appreciate a few-weeks-old compost pile. Or maybe we should just make a little pile out behind the avocado tree in the back anyway.