I just watched a very interesting SBS Dateline show on recycling. So interesting it made me comment to S that I wished I had gotten into the recycling/environmental industry rather than gabo and banking.

Well, i guess I just said banking, not "gabo and banking", but with the honesty of hindsight and a text editor, I've added gabo. Because it truly is an industry of its own, and one I spent many years obsessed (and nearly subsumed) by. And I still have friends who I see regularly whose entire lives are devoted to the machinations of the gabo trade.

My dad thinks people who talk about the price of petrol are a little limited in their worldview. He should sit with a lounge room of stoned junkies and listen to them talk on quarter-weight prices, gram versus eightball deals, and their rip-off and "miracle score " market talk.

I thank S for opening my eyes to the fact that most junkies can talk about little else than junk. And it has been that recognition that has led to her and I excluding most junkies from our daily lives. A desire to talk on subjects other than gear when meeting people has often been taken for arrogance but is instead a focused push to actually exist free of a broken record stereotype. Perhaps not stereotype, I don't think the world at large thinks of junkies as only talking about junk. I guess I mean some kind of subconscious cultural stereotype. As in "acting to type". The talk of junk because that' s what the junkies they've read about in Burroughs and in films (Drugstore Cowboy) seem to talk about. Perhaps we just need a new school of opiate movie direction to clear the image.

But recycling: so complex. And computers are soon to become a very major part of the landfill quota. And there is no organised mechanism for disposing of old IT hardware iN Australia it seems.You can find groups or organisations who will get rid of your tech gear if you hunt enough, but that's too hard, with the amount of tech gear rapidly obsolescing (and digital TVs committing their analog cousins to the dustbins by the kiloton in the next two years), we need easlier accessible solutions.

It's like they said on the show about recycling. Yellow bins were initially released to pick up paper, cardboard and PET plastic. Now they allow five different types of plastics and glass.

Apparently amounts as small as a few grams per metric ton can contaminate a load of recycling. They showed a picture of a truckload of glass that had to be turned into landfill because a few pieces of ceramic were mixed amongst them.

And there's no simple equation that says "recycling through yellow bins is good". You need to take into account factors such as distance to recycling points. It is not worth recycling a tonne of glass if you need to truck the glass 400 km to Perth, reload it into a larger truck then truck it to Adelaide where the nearest

processing centre for glass is. You've spent a lot of carbon on fuel getting the glass there, and this outweighs the benefit of saving the sand that is reclaimed from glass. Glass is just melted sand, after all.

As an accountant I can see the arguments. I've always seen some industry profits as more of a sleight of hand than a true expression of the worth of an industry. Yes it may be profitable to kill an elephant and sell the ivory for ten thousand dollars to Europe. And the cost of the bullet plus the one hour labour to remove the tusk is all that conventional accounting picks up as a cost against the massive income generated by the ivory's sale. IN a limited vision there is a big profit. But if you step back the balance sheet, so to speak, and look at the profit not just for the company procuring and selling the ivory, but now look at
the whole country that allows the ivory company to trade, how do the figures change?

The country gets a tax on the profit of the company, say 40% of the companies profit. PLus it may have a GST that it picked up on the sale of the item. So maybe $5000 goes to the country, and the company gets $5000. Same overall profit. But that country also has an income derived from tourism. People pay a certain amount to tour operators in that country to be shown live elephants in the wild.

The country gets a percentage of the tour operators profit. If there was just one elephant in the country then its slaughter would leave the tour operators with no tours to sell.

So the country's government has to deduct the income it would have expected from the tour operator.

And what about the fact that the tour operator employed a guide to show the rich tourists the elephant. If he is unemployed, the government has not only lost the tour company's income tax, it now has to provide welfare for the tour operator employee.

As you widen the scope on an enterprise, taking into account allied costs, you start to reveal the true costs and profitability of a venture. What at first may seem highly profitable ends up being a net loss.

The trouble is when we don't look at unified systems. When the government department that receives the income from the ivory sale perhaps is in a different district from the department that loses the tour operator's income and handles welfare.

or when there is not such a definite link between the industries. My example is very simple. IN reality, every economic event has hundreds of other economic impacts like any complex system, and accounting in the past has just totally ignored these costs.

But to continue to exist as a thinking species we have to start to take into account real costs for the acts we perform. And stop pushing these costs off onto other members of our species who can ill afford to pay them. Ultimately the costs will come back to us anyway


On other topics - saw a black snake Sunday night up at Tambourine Mountain (not Mt Tambourine for some arcane reason). A little todger, but flaring up at S's mum's broken ankle boot. Maybe a metre. Apparently there are frogs up there too, perhaps that attracts the snakes? Nice to get out of Bris for a day. The depression caused by a 50% rise in my metro dosage that had no effect upon my usage is abating, perhaps.

I have to say I am a little proud of my recent work on my usage updater page. It is now:

Oh and I like my street art gallery page too. Sure, I didn't write the very complex Adobe Flash code that handles the random distribution and neato slide out effects, but I did what seems to be my trade these days, finding disparate technologies that are freely available and adapting them for my own use.

A kind of recycling perhaps?

(Dentist tomorrow, root canal. Opiates have their uses)