Rethinking the Rs: A Reckoning

A Note from the Editor

Ah, Spring. As the winter rains start to subside, we are finally beginning to see green leaves budding and flowers blooming. Birds are singing in the trees, preparing nests for offspring soon to come. April also brings Earth Day—a day designated as a time to reflect on the importance of our planet and the life-support systems we all rely on.

While it would be ideal for Earth Day to be “Every Day,” as the saying goes, the ever-increasing amount of garbage our culture produces is evidence enough that consideration of the planet is the last thing on the minds of most consumers going about their daily lives.
Many of us have been religiously recycling glass, aluminum, paper, and plastics for most of our lives, having been taught from a young age that it’s the green, responsible thing to do.

To a large degree, though, recycling has been a greenwash—providing a feel-good band-aid to cover the festering cancer of unchecked, capitalist, profit-focused production models.

Recycling alone isn’t a solution to our waste woes. As several articles in this issue discuss, even though as individuals we may have the best intentions, we can’t recycle our way out of a problem that grows from exponential, wasteful resource use on a finite planet.

Look for future articles in upcoming issues of EcoNews covering other, arguably more important, aspects of the traditional “Rs” (from the familiar “Reduce Reuse Recycle” theme) that need to be fundamentally reconsidered in order to effectively reshape how we live on our one Earth. As we face the risks of catastrophic climate change, reality requires us rise
to the challenge.