Laurence Gonzales on our culture of garbage

Laurence Gonzales:

A subtle change in the way they view the world around them.  And I’ll give you a perfect example.  While I was writing “Everyday Survival”, I was taking the garbage out one day and I had this epiphany in which I thought, “Good grief! I’m carrying this sack full of manufactured goods that I have had in my possession mostly for at most a day or two and I’m throwing them into this container, they’re going to be taken out and dumped in landfill somewhere.  What on earth am I thinking?  What am I doing?”  You know, I go to the grocery store and I buy this little glassine box of strawberries and I take it, open it, and dumped the strawberries out.  And then I have this vessel that someone manufactured this beautiful, beautiful object that if you have given it to someone 10,000 years ago, they would’ve thought it was came down from the gods ‘cause it’s so special.  It lasts forever and ever.  You can see through it.  It’s durable.  It’s pretty.  It’s got all these wonderful qualities and what am I doing with it?  I’m keeping it for 5 minutes and I’m throwing it away.  What kind of a culture do I live in that would dictate that I do that?  Because if I don’t do that and if all my neighbors don’t do that, the economy comes through a grinding halt as we’ve all seen.  You know, you don’t spend.  You don’t have an economy.  You don’t throw stuff away in this economy, you don’t spend.  So it’s a culture of garbage.  Well, that little insight changed the way that I behave.  It changed the way that I recycle things.  And it changed the way that I think of the objects in my life and which ones I choose to buy and which ones I choose not to buy.  And so, if in reading this book people can have a subtle change in the way they view their world and not let this automated systems I talked about simply cause them to ignore everything around them ‘cause they’ve already seen it once, then I think I would have achieved something of my goal.

A culture based on the systematic disposal of potentially useful material items inspired Laurence Gonzales to ask some hard questions.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less