Friday, January 11, 2008

An Inconvenient Incinerator

Cocoon and watch Jeopardy or go to a public meeting on incinerating our garbage? Somehow we talked ourselves out the door and to the meeting which was held in a union hall in an industrial section of Oshawa. On the way there we wondered how many people would show up. Would it be a small crowd?

Ha! We had to park down the street and the hall was packed with perhaps 350 concerned citizens of all ages. Our own Dr. Debra Jefferson spoke briefly and well. The "imported" speaker for the evening pointed out that incineration is an absurd answer to our waste disposal challenge. It is simply a move from burying garbage to burning it. And for every three tons of burned junk there will be a ton of toxic ash which will still have to go to landfill. Since we are being told that the incineration will solve our landfill problem it makes no sense. As an American he informed us that 300 municipalities in the States have turned down incinerators since 1995 because they are seen as yesterday's solution. He wanted to know why we are considering an "energy from waste" incinerator right next to a nuclear generator.

He did offer that Durham and Clarington are already doing an excellent job of diversion, but could do much better. It will be through setting achievable "zero waste" targets that we address garbage disposal.

There was a downright evangelical call to simplicity which I appreciated. We know that an essential aspect of Jesus' message was a call to live simply, humbly, finding our deepest satisfaction in our relationship with God, not stuff. Surely Christians can be part of this cause. Surely we need to wake up.

Yesterday's Globe and Mail had an article by John Barber in which he comments:

Our poor lake. Drive east to see how badly we have used it, despoiling what should be the soul of this whole place, our epic waterfront, with some of the most polluting factories in Canada. Then weep to learn the primitive rulers of these tragic borderlands have done it again - deciding this week to fill one of their last unspoiled slices of Lake Ontario shoreline with a huge, mass-burn garbage incinerator.


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