On Friday, while flames raged into the sky, the wonderful spirit of this little community appeared without question or pause, as individuals formed a line rescuing valued possessions from the burning home. It was an action from the heart. In the truest sense it is what makes a group of individuals a community.
The previous week, world renowned zero waste expert, Richard Anthony came to our little community, as did Rod Muir of the Sierra Club, to share their knowledge and give to our community. Richard Anthony, Rod Muir, Clint Mahlman, Don Marshall and our own Tim Turner of Sea To Sky Outdoor School not only reached out to educate and inform us at the ZERO WASTE WORKSHOPS, but they also showed we are a bigger community – a world of individuals uniting. We are a world of individuals who can form a chain of action without pause or question.
Zero waste is a target. In archery an individual aims for the target. To hit the target takes commitment and focus. To achieve Zero Waste it takes commitment and focus. The commitment means opening ourselves to change and believing we can change.
There is a little community across the Pacific Ocean, not unlike our own seaside communities. The community has mountains and lots of senior citizens and rain. Incinerators were the toxic method of disposing of waste until in 2003 realizing that they, the residents of Kamikatsu, wished to pass on a clean healthy world to their children. In 2003 the town of 2000 individuals pledged to become a zero waste community and eliminate incinerators by 2020. Today residents of Kamikatsu recycle over 80% of their discards, they have created businesses for all ages and physical abilities from using waste materials as a resource, and they have unified with a common goal. Their actions to achieve the target have required effort and change of behaviours but they have gifted their community with positive transformation.
We see that communities can take action, reach out and change for the better. A little community in Japan can show us Zero Waste is a possible goal.
Here is the definition of ZERO WASTE used around the world, this is the target.
"Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.
Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health."
Commit, focus, take aim. Let inspiration be our guide.