Life of Waste
We see a lot of perspectives in The Windup Girl; in Jaidee’s chapter, we learn more about the Environmental Ministry and how the Ministry was started. It’s pointed out that “All life produces waste. The act of living produces costs, hazards, and disposal questions, and the Ministry has found itself in the center of all life, … guiding and policing… the average person along with investigating the infractions of the greedy and short-sighted, the ones who wish to make quick profits and trade on others’ lives for it” (Bacigalupi 134). Today we see a lot of the problems that characters in the novel experience. We produces insane amounts of garbage and have no way to really dispose of our wastes.
Most household appliances and electronics are created to only last a few years; people don’t know how to fix things as much as they used to, so the broken items will just be thrown away and a newly bought version of the same thing will take it’s place. Everyday, millions of people will use disposable cups and utensils, which can’t degrade and will sit for years, if not decades or centuries. Every single piece of plastic that has been created still exists today. There is huge a island of plastic, formally called the Great Pacific garbage patch (a catchy name, I know), floating around the Pacific Ocean. Society has been taught that to be alive means to create waste, which is true to an extent; however, consumerism has brought our creation of waste to a new, uncontrollable level. I feel like we could use an Environmental Ministry to teach people how to properly dispose of waste, show them alternatives to disposable plastics, and much more.
Source: Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl, (San Fransisco: Night Shade Books, 2010).