I have long since regarded the opportunist as something akin to a leach, a parasite if you will, that feeds upon the misfortunes of others. In some cases, and I think primarily upon some corporations or organized crime cartels (which sometimes are two sides of the coin called "law"), it can be the misfortunes of everybody. It isn't a big stretch to see, either, that what begins as opportunism is easily morphed into directing circumstances. As the cartel gentleman on the x files once said, the best way to predict the future is to create it.
So with the clear understanding that this is my usual stance on the subject, I offer an alternate view. Take the vulture for instance. It has never been a poster child for sweetness and light, spring renewal or twitterpated young love. On the contrary it's generally regarded as a coward and harbinger of death. But it is just filling an important ecological niche, cleaning up.
I bring this up because I have been been up to my keester in beer and pop cans snipping and sorting the material into separate piles for separate applications. Perhaps none of the current projects would ever have been generated if I have not decided to “install a program of” (committed to) creatively using waste products. I have in front of me 6 projects and a new one emerged this morning. As I was immersed in this work, (the work was to get all this stuff out of my living room) I was reminded of a conversation that was relayed to me. I have a small display installation at a green non-profit I have been asked to become a board member for. The jewellery I left there was upcycled from various materials I found inspirational. Many pieces were made from the lowly aluminum beverage can. In fact, I have a pretty stunning evening gown made from pop tabs. On display was a smaller version. A group of cyclists found the pop tab part not to their taste. I believe it was a matter of principal that it was considered an un-green item. I don't buy or consume pop (or soda as our US neighbours call it) so in that, I agree, it is hardly the face of health. But although there are crossovers in health and green, they are not interchangeable. I believe that clever waste management is important and art as a creator of paradigm shift is important. Perhaps I am saying “don't shoot the messenger pigeon” or in this case vulture. I am being an opportunist. Recycling programs such as those we use to manage the aluminum can waste are an expensive course of treatment when a different solution is warranted. But until there is greater accountability, we won't likely pursue one. Every taxpayer in my county pays for the recycling programs. Government began looking after our waste when were in danger of being wiped out by one plague after another. But it created a pretty big opening for corporations to focus on their profit margins exclusively over good ecology of production.
I'm a huge fan of William McDonough http://www.mcdonough.com/who has created a “Cradle to Cradle” theory of design. With any luck future designers will be freed from the constraint of cheap at any cost, and thrive in a creative environment which is truly contributing. That is where the best of humanity is: ideas born of creative compassion. When we use our most precious resource so squanderously, it feels to me like the equivalent of smashing a fine Swiss watch to melt it down for the gold. If the day comes when I am unable to find waste outside of my composter, I can live with that. In the meantime I expect to find plenty of opportunities to work my passionate love of Creative Recycling. For all my 2 wheeled green buddies I offer you my inner-tube lace, and thank you for the bike chain as play tools.