Chicago's Not-Quite-Implemented Garbage Fee: A Thought on Perspectives

In efforts to recover from its $30 billion pension crisis, the City of Chicago is more-than-considering a new fee for disposal of garbage within city limits.

I think it's important to point out that this Chicago Sun-Times article frames the introduction of the fee within an economic context, rather than an environmental one. What an obvious opportunity for the city to take advantage of environmentalism to further their agenda, no? And for the Sun-Times to go on and on about the positive environmental impacts that the implementation of the fee could cause - or fail to cause - no? And yet they limit mention of the environment to a single paragraph.

Even though I could (and pretty much do) spend all day every day writing about the environmental impacts of urban waste management systems, I recognize the importance of writing about environmental issues from economic - and other - perspectives. Issues of environmental responsibility cut across every single discipline and facet of life in a way that is often difficult to conceptualize or capture in writing, and I think the only way to have the largest, most comprehensive conversation about the environment is to do so from all those other perspectives. To simply touch on it in an article can possibly be even more productive and progressive than constructing the article around it. 

And going further, past conversation and reportage, I believe the same principles apply: in order to pass jurisdiction, organize movements, and make systematic changes, those changes have to be justified across not only disciplines, but across cultures, mindsets, and seas. There will always be different voices weighing in, and they all add equally to the ultimate outcome. I often feel as though those in the environmental movement can forget this, and feel obligated to pull everyone else over to where they're standing to give them the "best" view. But hey, the view from over there might be just as beautiful or important, and we should all remember that going in.