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Festival of Books: Trash talk with a consumerist message

April 22, 2012 |  3:30 pm


Waste. It's not the most attractive subject matter, but about 250 people took an hour on Sunday at the L.A. Times Festival of Books to hear about it.
The panel, "Disposable Nation: Trash & Consequences," focused on trash, waste and consumerism as local and global issues spiraling out of control. "We're going to find out exactly where our waste goes," said panel moderator Madeleine Brand, host of a daily radio program on KPCC. "Perhaps it's not a pretty" subject. "But it's interesting."

PHOTOS: Festival of Books

Panelist Edward Humes, whose latest book is "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash," said he found that waste is a core problem to numerous issues and that no one is keeping very good track of our trash.

Perhaps most disconcerting, Humes said, is that we have created "an epic amount of trash that we have begun to consider as normal."

FULL COVERAGE: Festival of Books

"We've embedded waste in our everyday lives," Humes said. He pointed to paper junk mail and disposable plastic forks and knives as just two examples of waste run amok.
Panelist Anna Sklar, who wrote "Brown Acres: An Intimate History of the Los Angeles Sewers," encouraged the audience to work locally to change community behavior toward sustainability. "Get together with some friends and see how you can make pressure to change that behavior," Sklar said.
But Kendra Pierre-Louis, author of "Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet," reminded audience members that individual, personal actions are not enough. "I think we've been conditioned to believe that individual action is a substitute for social actions," Pierre-Louis said.  


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