Video: Life at the Foot of a Literal Mountain of Trash

I’ve got a few fiction projects that I’ve put on the back burner over the last year or so. There’s the flooded NYC series, my long-neglected space-station B&B series, and then there’s the Vista series, which has yet to see the light of day. Vista is a town in the American Midwest, a couple hundred years in the future. It’s a company town, that lives entirely off of sorting trash, while struggling to survive in a much hotter world. The trash is brought there from all over the world, including from a nearby city that’s been built to ward off the high temperatures that plague the trash-pickers.

This basic scenario is one that already exists in a number of places around the world, where wealthy nations pay poorer ones to take the trash and “recyclables” that they don’t want to deal with. I talk a lot about how we need to figure out ways to do things, like mining, in less destructive ways. Waste disposal is absolutely one of those things, and figuring it out could go a long way to reducing our need for new resource extraction, because of the large amount of materials just sitting around in landfills and other dumping sites. In the meantime, we have a global capitalist system that depends on creating and maintaining extreme poverty, and this is part of what that looks like – people doing dangerous, disgusting work, because the system in which we live gives them no better option:

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