Monday, November 26, 2007

Rural America

We went to the beach on the Washington coast for Thanksgiving. One of the things we noticed, at least in our rental house and rental houses next door to us, was that there was no recycling. We spent some time in the rural southwest earlier this year - also no recycling. I mean none - no glass recycling, no paper recycling, no sort-your-own recycling (I presume you can do that at the dumps, but we didn't go there).
Now, that's two for two on trips away from major cities this year. I bet we didn't find the only two rural spots without recycling. I'm sure many do have it, but my guess is more don't. It's expensive to set up.
I'm reminded of something I heard from the American Institute of Architects: the biggest easy gains, the ones that pencil out right away and save resources for the more dramatic changes, are all in conservation. Which also means recycling.
It's also reinforces the idea that cities have the economies of scale to allow for more responsible stewardship of the planet. It's easy to think of the wild west or the wild and fairly unpopulated Northwest coasts as pristine, but per capita, I bet they're a lot harder on the Earth.

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