Social Science / Essays

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Garbage. Waste in a World of Side Effects
Søppel. Avfall i en verden av bivirkninger

Waste is what is left over, the irrelevant, the unintended side effect, the superfluous, the unwanted. It is nice to think that when we just throw it away, it disappears. But there is more and more of it.

In Norway, we throw away twice as much as we did 25 years ago – and China and India import tons of rubbish from rich countries. The further us rich people can remove ourselves from the stench, the more importunate it becomes for the poor. The rubbish is a mirror that tells humankind who we are.

- What gives things their value, and how can rubbish be transformed into treasures?

- Why is the littering of brains a growing environmental problem?

- How can people become rubbish, and how hard is it to keep the waste at an arm’s length in a world that is filling up?

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