20 October 2011, 12:39 BST
Ending waste as we know it today for the benefit of people and planet
October 19, 2011 - San Rafael, California - Bill Callahan, owner of Tamalpais NatureWorks on B Street, petitioned the Obama administration three weeks ago to close all landfills and incinerators in 5 years.
Since he posted his petition - meant to generate debate - he's been ridiculed for suggesting something so ridiculous. "If we can put men on the moon in 10 years for science, we can do this to rid ourselves of our wasteful ways in five years for the health of people and planet," he responds.
He posted his petition at the White House site, "We the People," on September 22nd. The site offers a new Obama Administration feature that allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the administration to take action on any issue. Petitions that get 5000 signatures in 30 days will get an official response from the Obama Administration.
To appear on the site and in searches, petitions need a minimum of 150 signatures. Thus far his petition has mustered just 19 signatures. "This is embarrassing, I knew it was going to be difficult for me to get 5000 signatures, but not to get the minimum is the worst that could happen," he says.
"With the world's population reaching 7 billion people this month there's little time for change. We need change, we need to do more, a lot more," he says.
Bill adds, "Change associated with one's lifestyle is not easy, that's for sure, but I truly don't believe it's as impossible as many think. Consider our lagging economy - doing this now will create jobs - lots of jobs on every street and every community. It will create so many new businesses and products many will wonder why we didn't do this sooner. It will reduce energy needs by not having to mine, harvest, process, transport and manufacture new products. It will help significantly to reduce our deficit by employing more people locally, producing more made in America products using recycled materials, and most importantly it will significantly reduce pollution and the health issues it causes."
Bill notes that most people who respond to his petition ask, how would this be accomplished? His answer: "President Kennedy didn't have all the answers when he proposed (1961) that the United States should set a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. Likewise today, no one has all the answers on how to go about this but many of the important foundation stones are already in place: we have the means of collecting and transporting waste, we have the machinery for sorting waste, we have the labor force, as well as a great number of highly knowledgeable organizations who are committed to finding ways to empower people and communities to reduce waste."
Bill also notes, "Many people think I'm a bit crazy to suggest such an idea, but I'm not the first. Former President Bill Clinton has been a leading advocate of closing landfills for some time." At the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 Bill Clinton said, “If you want to fight climate change, improve public health, find new sources of wealth for poor people…the closest thing to a silver bullet is closing all the landfills in the cities … almost every landfill is a goldmine, which is why so many poor people scavenge in them."
Bill is asking everyone who value peoples' health and our planet to take a moment and add their signature to his at the White House "We the People" website before the petition closes this week, October 22.
His petition can be found here: wh.gov/g05
An earlier open letter to President Obama regarding closing landfills and incinerators can be found on Bill's Greenwiser YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/greenwiser
Tamalpais NatureWorks designs and manufactures sustainable lifelong furniture, custom built and kits. Bill founded Tamalpais NatureWorks in 1994 to find ways of using waste wood to build sustainable, lifelong furniture. Waste wood includes new and used wood from new construction sites, wood from deconstructed buildings, wood from old furniture and shipping pallets and containers, as well as wood from fallen trees, from our yards, streets and public spaces.
Source: Sustainable Business