Environment

New book explores our thinking about waste

Alex Rea27 October 2020
Gerry Gillespie.

Gerry Gillespie is launching his new book about the human concept of waste on 28 October. Photo: Supplied.

Queanbeyan’s Gerry Gillespie wants you to change your thinking about waste.

“The only place waste exists in any natural system is between human ears,” he says. “Waste is a concept; it is not a fact. Through misuse of language, it has colonised the human mind with a base deception.”

On Wednesday, 28 October, Gerry will hold a virtual launch of his new book, The Waste Between Our Ears.

Cover of The Waste Between Our Ears book.

Cover of The Waste Between Our Ears by Gerry Gillespie. Image: Supplied.

The World Bank says that without urgent action, global waste will increase by 70 per cent on current levels by 2050. Gerry has been focused on this issue since he commenced writing and publishing books on recycling and waste reduction for local councils in 1988. He has developed a focus on the reuse of organics to soil.

For the past 25 years, Gerry has worked internationally in numerous roles in the recovery of waste resources and reuse. He was a founding member of the Zero Waste International Alliance, a board member of Zero Waste International Trust, and principal organics consultant of Resource Recovery Australia.

He is now an internationally renowned thinker and practitioner on compost, recycling and how we can create a better world by changing our thinking on waste. His new publication explains why and how we need to make change, helping us rethink waste to create a global solution for our current environmental crisis.

Locally, Gerry developed the highly successful City to Soil community engagement strategy, collecting clean organic waste and reconnecting the urban community with farmers as its food producers.

The Waste Between Our Ears is aimed at the broader community and is interspersed with poetry by the author.

On changing minds, Gerry says: “This publication concerns our ability to think differently around the concepts of discarded materials and their economic value, rather than focusing on waste. To think differently on this subject, you will need to be able to put your mind into a different place.”

The book launch will feature nine speakers, including:

  • Jackie French – author, historian, ecologist.
  • Richard Denniss – chief economist, The Australia Institute.
  • Ryan Slabaugh – CEO and publisher, Acres Australia magazine.
  • Sara Beavis – senior research fellow, Fenner School, ANU.
  • Fiona Armstrong – CEO, Climate and Health Alliance.
  • Max Purnell – innovative farmer, New Zealand.
  • Eric Lombardi – executive director, Eco-Cycle, USA.
  • Mal Williams – executive director, Zero Waste International Trust, Wales.
  • Martin Royds – regenerative farmer, Braidwood, NSW.

Hosted by Soil Land Food, join Gerry and the special guests for the book launch and to celebrate Gerry’s leadership in the global waste movement.

Tickets are free, but you need to register here to attend the event, which starts at 9 am.

There will also be a book signing at Paperchain in Manuka on Thursday, 29 October at 10 am.

The Waste Between Our Ears is published by Acres Australia and is available for RRP $30.

The following poem, Between Our Ears, can be found in the book:

The waste between our ears gives rise
To misplaced piles of money spent
On complex steel all shaped and bent
By engineers who waste your time
Concocting crass veracity
For bankers who will loan to you
The many millions which will be
A debt to all community
Complexified simplicity
Collective joint incumbency
The science of numerosity
Incinerating rates for ‘free’
All money spent assists the rich
Shareholder dividends and fee
To help your way toward an end
That neither do you want nor see

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