Posts Tagged Electricity

Leave It On The Track

After our walk on the Kokoda Track we were shown an ABC video depicting one of the trek leaders escorting a group of troubled youths for a stroll down the Track. Troubled youths seem to be regularly dragged along on these sorts of intense experiences in the belief that enormous physical effort, coupled with copious volumes of sweat, will somehow lead to an epiphany that will change their lives forever. They were exhorted by the trek leader to take whatever negative event had lead them from the straight and narrow and leave it on the track, starting afresh upon their return to the land of electricity and hot water. While this does seem to have some potential merit with people occasionally claiming that the effort had indeed transformed them, I can’t say it had any kind of similar effect on my son or me.

Although the exertion was extreme and the result extremely satisfying I failed to leave any of my issues on the track. It struck me that, while we were all walking along in total silence, the exertion being too great to permit free speech, I should have been doing something more useful with my thinking time like composing a great novel, devising a solution to a complex problem, working through a personal issue or exorcising some demons that were causing me grief. Instead the internal jukebox fired up and I spent most of the walk with a loop of random songs coursing through my brain; the most oft repeated ones being “Sacrifice” by Motörhead, “Minority” by Green Day and “I Was Only 19” by Redgum.

The rest of the time my mind appeared to be wool gathering, arbitrary thoughts flying through my brain, some getting caught in the perpetual loop, others only momentarily passing through. Any time I tried to embark on a complicated and extended train of thought we began a sharp and hazardous descent and, after almost tripping over a tree root or nearly falling face first into the mud, I was forced to bring my thoughts back and actually concentrate on walking the Track.

So, no great revelations. It was just the joy of labour and the chance to get away from civilization’s little annoyances for a week. I can’t say I missed our modern world. After a week of living by head torch and candlelight the thing that struck me the most was how incredibly bright our electrical life is. I felt like the mobile phone screen was burning my retinas when I first turned it on.

There was, however, one thing I did leave on the track, and that was any life changing resolutions I might have come up with. While I did not miss the various things that were unavailable to me while they were unavailable, now that they are once again available I don’t have the strength to resist the booze, leave the TV turned off, ignore my emails or keep getting up at 5.30 and going to bed at 8.00. I have just returned to become the same person I was before I left, which isn’t really such a bad thing, is it?

Dr. F. Bunny


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Once More With Feeling

I would like to think that we have come a long way from the days when recycling was one of those weird alternative things that commie leftist drugged out hippies did while the rest of us tossed our unwanted goodies into landfill, like “normal” people. Despite the recycling bin that goes out every bin day, large receptacles in the workplace for paper and cardboard, and the plastic bag recycle bin at the local supermarket I am not so sure we have come as far as we might think.

Take beds. After more than ten years on the one bed we finally decided it was about time to buy a new one before my back ended up sagging more than the mattress. The dilemma was what to do with the old one. Being keen recyclers we decided that it was far too good to toss into landfill and we should be good citizens and recycle it. Not only do the handful of mattress recycle places charge to collect old beds but they don’t travel outside the metropolitan area to pick them up. Fine. We’ll drop it off. Unfortunately one place is over an hour’s drive away and the other place lists no address but a mobile phone number that goes through to message bank. How about someone like the Salvation Army then? Thank God for the Salvos, unless you’re gay of course. So we drove the bed around to the Salvos. They took one look at it, noticed a few cat scratchings on the base and decided that the homeless and destitute couldn’t possibly put up with that and told us to take it away. Obviously sleeping on the concrete or on a piece of cardboard is far preferable to lying on a used bed. I am now going to list it on ebay and we’ll see what happens.

Unfortunately I had a similar experience with my old computer. So called computer recyclers either charged for the privilege or were located so far away that it was hardly worth driving all that way to drop it off. After much searching I finally found someone local who was willing to take it but, had I been a “normal” person, I suspect I would have found it all too hard and have tossed it in the garbage along with the other 100,000 tonnes of electronic rubbish Australians dispose of each year.

While I applaud the mobile phone recycling boxes that have popped up everywhere and a growing awareness about recycling ink cartridges (highlighted in this excellent blog: most people will not recycle unless it is made as easy as possible for them. For me this means that some of the exorbitant rates I pay the shire each year should go towards a depot or facility where I can drop off that bed or computer or television. When they reach critical mass the shire can then either deliver it to the specialist recycler or have them come and pick it up. For recycling to work and it must work if we are to move forwards, we have to make it at least as cheap and easy as throwing stuff in the bin or landfill. And those electricity companies and airlines that want us to pay extra to give us “green” power or offset our flight are just trying to making an extra buck by pricking our environmental consciences. If they were really serious about sustainability and their effects on the environment they would make the “green” option cheaper, not more expensive.

I only hope the contents of my recycle bin aren’t just tipped into the landfill along with my rubbish. But my wife tells me I need to be less cynical.

Dr. F. Bunny


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