I want to know where all of my waste (sewage, recyclables, and trash) goes. What is it like there? What is the impact of my waste on the ecosystem? What is it like for workers to deal with it? How is the adjacent community affected by my trash? Although I don’t know any of these people or know anything about the ecosystem there, I have relations with them. Because my trash goes there, I am in fact part of that ecosystem. Because my trash goes there, I interact with the workers and community members. I want to be aware of those relations that are now invisible to me.
The less invisible these relationships are, the more I will be conscious of my consumption and disposal, the more I will be able to give up the illusion of the atomized individual and recognize individuality as emergent from relations. Pagan Germans understood that we each have our own Wyrd (often poorly translated as fate, but perhaps better understood as more like karma) woven by the three Norns. The weave of our own Wyrd connects to that of everyone else, as well as that of the gods and the land. The actions of others tugs on the weave of our own Wyrd and vice versa. Indeed, without interweaving of the larger Wyrd with ours, our own would unravel because our individual strands would lie loose. Philip Shepherd expresses the Universal Law of Interrelationship as “existence is contingent upon interrelationship, and nothing exists except through its interrelationships with everything else” (Shepherd, New Self, New World, 48).
Now I’ve given my motivation for becoming aware of my waste. Subsequent posts on this topic will focus on what I actually find out about my waste.