A haunting image comes out of one of America's most economically challenged cities shows a large old office space with thousands of squares of pulpy substances which had once been books. The label of the image showed it was the old Detroit Public School Book Depository.
Several decades ago, in urban Oklahoma City, a church rented out the original old part of their church. This now unused wing became home to a Community Action Program (CAP). Three stories were filled with offices, small group rooms, and waiting areas as the group helped 'win the war on poverty' by empowering, training,and educating the local community.
The overall CAP program lost its funding and many of the units merged into a single entity. They moved into an old empty school building to consolidate their services with several other federal and state funded programs.
Charged with cleaning out the old church wing, a small group gathered to assess the task. It was amazing what met the eyes of the people as they walked through the three stories. Desks, chairs, file cabinets, couches, tables, lamps, books, coffee pots had been left. The desk drawers still had pens, papers, writing tablets, receipt books, paperclips, staples and staplers! In the file cabinets were file after file of not only programming type resources, but event records and plans, and even some confidential materials with Social Security numbers, addresses, and intimate information about personal or family problems.
Why did these not go with them into their new home in the old school building? The programs were all federally funded and they had gotten new furnishing, new supplies, and new everything. Strangely, this incredible wasting of useful and usable resources took place beneath the sage wisdom of 1970's browned and curling wall posters about saving the world by saving the environment!
The irony lingers. Just as earlier generations could be accused of taking for granted the bounty of the natural world and using it up with out thought or caution, we of the later 20th century can be equally charged with our own examples of the same disregard. Logical is a label few humans can truly wear with consistent pride.
So, yes, we walk away leaving resources to ruin rather than reusing....it is wasteful behavior which replicates everywhere the human species walks. Why? That, my friend, is the mystery.