On the Sixth Day of China: A Job for Everyone

Anyone who has been to China for more than one day would find it difficult to classify China as a communist country. Hell, you don’t even need to go to China to know that it’s not. Just look at all the billionaires buying up all the property in the United States and Canada. You didn’t see any Russians doing that back pre-1991. The worst of capitalism and its treatment of workers can be seen all across Shanghai. According to one of my tour guides, young people in Shanghai are often stuck working in fast food or retail jobs where the requirements are 10 hour days, 6 days a week, for an average of 5000 RMB (about $730) per month. They are paid once a month, and if they quit, an employer will often hold their last paycheck for several months. The lack of worker rights and protections has given rise to a true communist movement among some young people, a movement the government is suppressing because it would interfere with the push for global economic domination.  Continue reading →

279 Days in the Mountains: Recycling, All the Boulderites Are Doing It

I previously wrote about trash and I think it’s about time for a follow up post concerning recyclables. For most of history, trash has just been trash. But if you know anything about Boulder, you won’t be surprised that Boulder is front and center in zero waste initiatives. Every building in the city is filled with waste stations that require you to stand around for five minutes trying to figure out which bin each item in your hand belongs in until you just give up and chuck it all in the landfill bin anyways.

I’m not anti-recycling and I don’t hate the environment, but I am selfish. Recycling has to be easy and time-efficient or I can’t be bothered. The house I rented before I moved in with my partner had a big single-stream recycling bin that I could dump everything in and take down to the end of my driveway every two weeks, so I recycled everything. When I moved in with my partner, our first condo had no onsite recycling, so everything went in the trash. Our next condo had recycling for cardboard, so cardboard got recycled and everything else went in the trash. Now we live in the mountains where there is no recycling, so you might think that once again, everything goes in the trash. Continue reading →

Ten Weeks in the Mountains: Let’s Talk About Trash, Baby!

Let’s talk about things smelly. Let’s talk about all the things that I do now like dumping illegally. Let’s talk about trash. (If you’re too young to get the reference, click here.)

No seriously, I’ve never understood “No Illegal Dumping” signs until now. Who would just chuck their trash anywhere they felt like it when there are garbage men who come around once a week and collect it? What is the point?

Well, now I live somewhere garbage men don’t come around once a week to collect it. Sort of. They do come around, 2.5 miles from our house and we have to pay for collection by the bag. If we use our trash compactor, each of their big orange bags can hold four regular trash bags. But we can’t store our garbage in cans outside since doing so would attract unwelcome furry visitors, so we have garbage stinking up the mechanical room off the garage for two to three weeks until the big bag is full. Continue reading →