Waste Land is a documentary by director Lucy Walker. During this docu artist Vik Muniz introduced me to the story of people at Rio de Janeiro landfill and encouraged me to use my talents to construct better realities. I was fascinated by the transformation of waste into art –trailer –
I saw this documentary when I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to become a Climate Reality Leader. Waste Land showed me how much room for improvement I had. Getting to know the story of Tiaõ, was the final kick for me to get active. Tiaõ improved the conditions of his fellow scavengers by creating the Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho. Also the story of Zumbi made want to be the best I could be! Zumbi rescued books from the landfill and created the first library for the area. He wants to give better opportunities to scavengers and their children through knowledge.
So many times I have been getting used to things that are simply wrong. I want to embrace our reality and make good something that we all know is wrong, I want to stop ignoring and start acting. I felt overwhelmed, recognizing that all the tools I have been collecting were not enough (I was just accomplishing a PhD in Developmental Neurosciences). I needed to improve as much as possible.
These are the things that happened:
I confronted myself with the reality: trash does not magically disappear. Toxics leaked from trash in landfills or waste incinerators will eventually contaminate all of us. Furthermore, improper management of trash has been shaping a system I don’t want to support.
So I continued learning and acting on this matter as much as I could. I reduced my negative impact during my Rio de Janeiro visit, by avoiding plastic packaging. A few times I was unsuccessful, like when a plastic straw was plugged into my fresh coconut water… so I reused it many times creating some kind of shock among the Brazilian salesmen.
I even created art with the trash I could not prevent – sadly far away from Mr. Muniz`s example.
Rio de Janeiro landfill have been closed since 2012, unfortunately in Rio I found just shy recycling attempts.
Back at home, I reduced toiletry waste by making my own organic products in reusable pots. My first attempt (now my essential beauty product) is the multi task, toxic-free deodorant by body unburdened. I recommend it 100 %.
I was improving at a very small scale. I confess I don`t follow the rules of creams and mascaras, that are meant to be disposed after three months use to avoid bacteria. My toiletry waste used to be one package every six months. That was minimal compared to the waste produced from my food consumption. I used to throw away around one food packaging each day.
Around that time I came across trash is for tossers! One of my best friends knew my concerns and shared with me an article about Lauren Singer having a zero waste life in New York… so once again, I got the inspiration I needed. I am still on a crusade against trash…especially the one coming from packaging containing my local, organic, fair trade food… but I am enjoying my journey towards sustainability. I am glad that Waste Land opened my eyes to new possibilities.
What have poses the biggest sustainability challenge to you? Did you have a turning moment in your life that made you take action?