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Mops and Buckets: A Parable (part 2)

Oh you guys from academia, always missing the bigger picture.  Just to the
right of the faucets stand guards with shock prods.  The warden has
instructed them to shock anyone who touches the faucets.  Why ?

Union contract. Inmates are not allowed to fix plumbing problems. Inmates
are only allowed to mop.  That's why the mops and buckets are provided in
plain sight for all to see.  The inmates duty is obvious.  Only the crazy
inmates risk shock by touching the faucets while the sane ones just go with
the program. People will tend to do the right thing, but only if the system
lets them.

Just some wet thoughts,


> ----------
> From: 	Doug Keivit-Kylar[SMTP:DOUGK@dec.anr.state.vt.us]
> Reply To: 	Doug Keivit-Kylar
> Sent: 	Tuesday, January 05, 1999 11:36 AM
> To: 	p2tech@great-lakes.net
> Subject: 	Mops and Buckets: A Parable
> The question has now been posed (what happened to prevention) and I  can't
> help but interject with a story or parable David Orr tells all first  year
> students in his Environmental Studies class: 
> Mops and Buckets 
> 	It's been said that we are a society driven by a "mop-and-bucket
> approach" to life. David Orr, professor of Environmental Studies at
> Oberlin College, likes to tell the story of the entrance exam for an
> asylum  in the midwest. In the exam, candidates to the asylum are led into
> a  cement-lined room with a row of faucets on one wall, fully open,
> gushing  water. Leaning against the opposite wall are dozens of mops and
> buckets.  Those who have truly lost their way in this world inevitably run
> for the  mops and buckets. Anyone with their wits intact simply turn off
> the  faucets. 
> 	Logical, right? Turn off the faucets and prevent the flooding. Yet
> how  difficult it seems for us to similarly turn off the "faucets," in all
> their  many guises to, for example, prevent pollution. For decades we
> attacked  pollution with mops and buckets feverishly capturing the gritty
> and grimy  stuff coming out of smokestacks and chimneys into our air and
> from out- flow pipes into our state's waterways. Scrubbers and wastewater
> treatment plants have served us well, but how much better could it be if
> we never generated the nasty stuff in the first place? 
> 	Going beyond the mop-and-bucket approach and turning off some of 
> the many "faucets" in our lives means keeping valuable soils on the land
> and 
> out of our waterways; it means preventing the generation of hazardous
> waste 
> by using only non-toxic household cleaning, maintenance, and yard
> products; 
> it means reducing the volumes of garbage we generate by bringing fewer 
> over-packaged goods into our homes; it means reducing air pollution by 
> ridesharing or carpooling to work on a regular basis; and it means
> preventing 
> air, water, and land pollution by reducing energy and resource
> consumption. 
> We're learning that it can be much cheaper to engineer manufacturing 
> processes so they don't produce nasty stuff in the first place, but it's 
> means shifting attention from the end of processes back up to the front 
> of the production line and asking ourselves some very basic questions. 
> Despite the fact that the world is full of rich sellers of mops and
> buckets, 
> it has become increasingly clear that we can continue to mop and mop and
> mop, 
> or we can embrace the prevention ethic and start turning off those pesky 
> faucets in our lives. 
> Happy New Year Everyone! 
> Doug Kievit-Kylar, Pollution Prevention Planner
> Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
> Environmental Assistance Division
> 103 South Main Street
> Waterbury   VT   05671-0411
> phone: (802) 241-3628
> FAX: (802) 241-3273
> e-mail: Doug.Kievit-Kylar@anrmail.anr.state.vt.us
> "Smart people solve problems. Geniuses prevent them."
> -- The wisdom of Albert Einstein --