Environment

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Cameraman Takes Conservation to the Extreme

September 26, 2008 09:35 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
To measure his trash footprint, one Los Angeles cameraman has thrown nothing away for the past year. But his efforts have some people wondering: how green is too green?

Sustainable Dave

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David Chameides, a two-time Emmy winning TV cameraman, has always been green, earning himself the nickname “Sustainable Dave” among his friends. But his latest project, a commitment not to throw anything away for a year, has raised even his friends’ eyebrows. Furthermore, Chameides is storing all of his accumulated waste in the basement of his home.

According to Time Magazine, “the average American throws out around 1,700 lbs. of trash annually,” but many people forget that garbage does not simply disappear. In part because he has to tote his garbage home each day, Chameides has cut back on his waste, and says the process has not been too difficult.

But Chameides’ project sounds extreme, which could turn people off from trying to reduce their waste-footprint altogether.

Blogger SandyGoGreen, for example, likens “extreme green living” to TV show The Biggest Loser, which forces intensive exercise and dieting on participants, a combination Sandy finds “both inspiring and deflating at the same time.”

Travel and music Web site Jamble is less conflicted over the issue, preferring “being green without the extreme.” The site characterizes green living as innovative, and utilizing technology and “forward thinking,” without taking extreme measures.

Background: Addressing ‘the trash problem’

An article on Grist.org discussed the book “Garbage Land,” which documents “the trash problem,” including different international approaches to dealing with waste. In the United States, people “generate more than four pounds of trash per person, each day,” while in Europe, the focus is on “recycling laws, bio-waste plants, and … manufacturer responsibility,” and New Zealand, San Francisco and Seattle have stated a goal of “zero waste.”

However, “Garbage Land” “leaves the clear impression that there’s only one real solution: use less stuff.”

According to Prospect.org, in the United States, “manufactured goods have become so inexpensive that it makes economic sense to throw things away rather than repair them,” resulting in tons of rubbish. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance reports that 80 percent of products in the United States “are used once and then discarded,” leaving our economy reliant on trash.

Related Topic: Chameides’s blog

Reference: The evolution of garbage

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