Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Green Lawn on the Graveyard of Labor

My brother and his lovely wife are bicycling across the U.S. on a tandem bike. They started with their back wheel in the Atlantic Ocean at Yorktown, Virginia, and they are now in Colorado.

I was Googling for a map of their route, when I came across this article from Zilong Wang, a Chinese student who did the same thing on a single bike. Entitled 10 Lessons I Learned From Bicycling Across USA it notes that:

"Lawn mowing seems to be the No.1 obsession of American homeowners. I have seen more people mowing their lawn than those who are just simply relaxing on their porch. The homeowners seem to want 'nature' to surround their house, but only 'nature' in its subdued and commodity form, instead of its natural state. After mowing the lawn, they go back to work to earn money so that they can pay for the lawn mower and weed killers, having no time to enjoy the lawn.

"Similarly, I have seen more yard sales than yard BBQs. The yard sales feature all kinds of worldly possession. No doubt that most of those stuff are made in developing countries. So here is the message: yard sale is a sale from the graveyard of labor. Those cheap plastic toys and clothes are not mere objects. They are the fossilized labor and youth of poor, young workers in many less fortunate parts of the world. They contain shattered dreams of under-aged workers in a Chinese factory, devastated families as victims of building collapse in the Bangladesh sweatshop, and irreparable damage to people’s health and the environment."

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