Haves and Have-Nots: Recycling the World Over

Recycled-Wheel Charcoal Grill  in La Antigua Guatemala

A simple photo of the doorway to Licuados Claudia in La Antigua Guatemala generates over 15 comments; I take one as the diving board for this entry.

Coltrane_lives commented: “… In my photo, out front of the store, there is a little type of grill with three legs welded to what looks to be a wheel from a car…”

Carolyn commented that we live in an Upside Down World, a reference to Eduardo Galeano’s book, and how North Americans and Europeans feel less guilty about the over-consumption which directly corresponds to what Central Americans don’t have.

There you have it: The haves and have-nots and recycling. ;-)

I remember a scene in the Mahatma Gandhi film in which Gandhi and the British administration are negotiating their exit out of India and the British said to Gandhi something like: “All we want is for India to be civilized, like England” and Gandhi responded that if a small island with a small population on the north Atlantic Ocean needed to have an empire made up of colonies throughout the world to be civilized and to maintain their lifestyle, how many planets would be necessary to keep a large nation with a large population like India with the same lifestyle as England? I don’t know if Mahatma Gandhi ever uttered such words as I did not find such passage in his autobiography book. However, just last week a woman from India, nonetheless, said the westerners’ lifestyle is harmful for earth and that if the whole world opted for such a lifestyle, we would need four or five planets to barely keep up. What an inconvenient truth! For the foreseeable future, having a few planets to spare is out of the question (I think); no third world or even a second world here, you know.

There you have it: The have-nots can not have what the haves have.

Thus, the have-nots have to recycle as much as possible; more out necessity than conscientiousness. So, old wheels become charcoal grills, cans become pots, retired school buses become colorful public transit chicken buses, vehicles considered junk in the U.S. are driven 6,000 kilometers for an extended life in Central America. And so on, the list is so long I would need a few months just to highlight all the things we recycle from the U.S. and Canada. All of this recycling takes away from the embellishment and beauty of the “third world”; or perhaps it adds the exotic flare of these little poor countries. But, somebody has to take recycling seriously; let the “third world” do it, right?!

There you have it: The have-nots are recycling the world over.

Oh man! this guy Eduardo Galeano has it all right: we live in an Upside Down World. Maybe, we ought to read some of his other books like Las venas abiertas de América Latina (The Open Veins of Latin America); for starters.

Besides reading and watching the avalanche of material about recycling, being eco-friendly, et-cetera, what do you think are solid and fair solutions to end this vicious circle of haves and have-nots without destroying our only planet in the process?

© 2008 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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