1987 The Roaming Mobro “Gar-barge”; Garbage, Garbage Everywhere and No Direction Home!
In 1987, due to a shortage of landfill space, a barge filled with over 3000 tons of New York City trash was dragged up and down the east coast of North America and into Caribbean and Mexican waters. Originally destined for North Carolina as part of a solid-waste to methane conversion pilot program, the so-called “gar-barge” became synonymous with our society’s problems with overconsumption and lack of sound solid-waste disposal strategies. With similar problems continuing to haunt large cities throughout the world to this day, with no viable solution to toxic and nuclear waste disposal on the horizon, and with an Australia-sized island of plastic waste and chemical sludge floating in a vortex of marine currents in the North Pacific, Action Speaks examines the global economic, humanitarian, and environmental problem that trash has become.
Action Speaks! Host and Creative Director Marc Levitt welcomes famed Boston University Professor Juliet Schor; the only “Anthropologist-in-residence” ever hired by the NYC Department of Sanitation, Professor Robin Nagle; and Sarah Kite, Director of Recycling Services for the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation to discuss the issue of what to do with the waste products from a material rich society.
- What happens to our garbage after we throw it out?
- What can and can’t we get rid of?
- Is re-cycling a simplified, “feel-good” solution to deeper problems we refuse to face?
- Can we order our economy around something other than shopping?
- Should manufacturers be responsible for what they create?
Listen to Marc Levitt’s interview with captain Duffy St. Pierre
Marc Levitt’s interview with owner of Mobro 4000 garbage barge Lowell Harrelson
Marc Levitt’s interview with the former environmental reporter Susan Brozek Scott
Dr. Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She taught at Harvard University for 17 years, in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. She is the author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, the national best-seller The Overworked American, The Overspent American, and many other books and articles. She is a co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream, South End Press and the Center for Popular Economics, and a former Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Leontief Prize.
Sarah Kite is Director of Recycling Services for the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation and President of the Northeast Recycling Council. She has 10 years of progressively responsible experience in environmental protection and solid waste management, including public policy and program design, solid waste contract management, recycling program implementation and analysis, composting education, and monitoring legislative processes. Her environmental protection career started at the Sierra Club, where she worked as an environmental grassroots organizer, working on issues like suburban sprawl, water quality, and transportation.
Dr. Robin Nagle is anthropologist-in-residence for New York City’s Department of Sanitation, a position she has held since 2006. She is also director of the Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program at New York University, where she teaches anthropology and urban studies.
- Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage; Heather Rogers: New Press, 2005
- Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash; Elizabeth Royte: Little Brown, 2005
- Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage; William Rathje and Cullen Murphy: University of Arizona Press, 2001
- Waste and Want, A Social History of Trash, Susan Strasser; Henry Holt and Company, 2009
- The Story of Stuff; Amy Leonard: Free Press, 2010
- Plenitude; Juliet Schor: Peguin Press, 2010
Produced by AS220 with generous support from Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Johnson and Wales University.
Host/Creative Director: Marc Levitt
Producer: Dr. Michael Siegel
Sound engineer and editor: James Moses