Monday, April 26, 2010

One Man's Trash

One man's trash is another's cathedral. A few weekends ago, Alec and I visited Austin's very own Cathedral of Junk after hearing it was being closed down. It's been over a month since the most recent set of discussions regarding its closing started, and it's still standing. I don't know the status of negotiations/threats/potential bulldozings beyond that. As much as I want to, I'm not going to go all preachy and speculate why I think the city is doing this, how badly I think it reflects on our state's government, or anything like that. After all, there's a Facebook fan page for that sorta thing. :)
Instead, I want to say how fitting and relevant something like the Cathedral is not only for Earth Day but also for the 21st century. To think that all those wine bottles, shopping carts, refrigerators, bicycles, bowling balls, trophies, old car seats, everything- would have otherwise found its way to a landfill and didn't, leaves me awestruck. If you haven't been, the structure may or may not live up to your expectations size-wise, but upon closer inspection, the number of building blocks and arrangement is so meticulously thought out (Vince, the owner, was moving trophies and figurines back to their proper place while we were there) that if you were to really think about it, your head would explode Scanners style.
Whether you consider the CoJ art or just awesome, the fact that it exists, is still taken care of years after its initial conception, draws countless people in on a regular basis, and brings some to tears (not speaking from personal experience, just what I read), is everything you need to know about why it's relevant in today's world. We all probably consume too much and don't make the best use of what we do have (ya know, the whole you use 20% of what you have 80% of the time). The Cathedral of Junk holds up the mirror and shows us that we consistently do this.

Because it's Earth Day, I'm making a conscious effort to think about what I can do to cut back because I'm probably not doing enough. That said, I bus or walk to work every day, turn off the lights when I leave the room, go grocery shopping with reusable canvas bags, use CFL's, get at least 25-30mpg when I do drive, recycle (that part's thanks to my roomie), and donate whatever I no longer use instead of throwing it out- unless it's 10 year-old paint chip nail polish...

Someone made the argument to me that statistics have shown (in recent years) that we're cutting back drastically on how much we drive and subsequently how much waste we're producing because of it. For one, I'm extremely skeptical that this is true. And even if the statistic holds true, I think it's a moot point. A comment like that excuses a lack of effort to conserve. The new goal I'm setting for myself is consciously shopping locally (Farmer's Markets, local goods and designers, etc.). What are you doing to help?

Action Jackson out.

Currently listening: Kid A by Radiohead

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