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Re: Esperanza Garden Sentences

Here's a piece on NY recycling by Beth Sopko, one of the "Esperanza Garden"


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Beth Sopko [SMTP:beth@tuna.net]
> Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 9:50 PM
> To:	cybergardens@treebranch.com
> Subject:	CYBERGARDENS: "Night Mail"
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> News from the CYBERGARDENS mailing list 
> (cybergardens@treebranch.com)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> This is very much about open-space issues; it has to do with the community
> service I was sentenced to as punishment for defending the Esperanza
> garden
> on February 15th of last year. A few of us who decided to take as
> punishment for our "crime" an ACD (adjournment on contemplation of
> dismissal) and five days of community service went to the "Alternative
> Sentencing" office to get our assignments. One woman decided to get work
> detail in the Wagner Houses "graffiti removal unit", and the five of us
> agreed on a handful of dates which sort of overlapped, so there would
> generally be someone you knew working on a day you worked.
> On my second day, there were a lot of people working, and we were split up
> regardless. My supervisor was a woman with gold door-knocker earrings who
> told me to "clean around this whole building - the yard", although she
> only
> gave me a rake and a crude galvanized dustpan as implements - no work
> gloves, no trash barrel to collect the stuff in. I guessed they must have
> run out, what with the additional people working, although I was able to
> eventually get a trash barrel.
> So I was sent around Building 14 to pick up the trash. On the side facing
> the street, the stuff was pretty uneventful and amounted mostly to litter,
> although one of the items I found was an expanding screen that must have
> gotten pushed out of the window by accident. When I went to clean the
> interior yard, thouugh, I was alternately puzzled and nauseated to find
> all
> manner of household trash there: used syringes, bloody tampon applicators,
> condoms in a rainbow of colors, an assortment of glass bottles and
> aluminum
> cans, and these mysterious white plastic packages that, had it not been
> below freezing out, I would have known instantly were used disposable
> diapers.
> As someone who routinely and compulsively recycles everything, I find the
> whole idea of "night mail" puzzling. It undermines everything I've been
> told about trash disposal, even before I began recycling. But also, what
> motivates people to just throw things out the window is the basis of our
> "disposable" society. A disposable society! How quaint! How na´ve! (Sure,
> I
> remember the 70s: the paper dress, Alvin Toffler's "Future Shock". And who
> can forget "Space Food Sticks" - but that's another story.)
> I'm aware that this is a phenomenon as old as the city itself. It seems
> that since there have been buildings with windows to throw trash out of,
> people have been throwing trash out of them. I've seen pictures of the
> mountains of trash that used to accumulate in the street in the 19th
> century, and I know our waste situation used to be a lot more critical:
> now
> we can just transport it out of here. But what's that slogan again? "Real
> New Yorkers Recycle"? Who the hell thought that up? Who the hell were they
> talking about? No one I know, that's for sure; we can't even get a needle
> exchange going without a lot of protest.
> Beth
> ..........................................................................
> ....
>            "Why do they call it tourist season if you can't shoot 'em?"
> ===========================================
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> ----------------
> This list is operated by the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition and 
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> ===========================================

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