…my New School colleague Gustav Peebles and his co-author Ben Luzzato argued at Public Seminar this morning.
Today, we are existentially threatened by our own waste production: atmospheric carbon. But what if we took a cue both from nature and endless generations of farmers, and re-labeled our carbon waste as central, as fertile; as the font of all value in the system? For eons, farmers have known how to put waste to work. They knew that discarding waste or ignoring its power could, in fact, harm the total productivity of the system they sought to build. This led not only farmers but many rural societies to elevate waste to something precious, even associating it with the fertile power of the gods.
We believe that recent developments on two seemingly-unrelated fronts could help the global economy finally recognize the central value of waste to its functioning. Our proposed revaluation of waste is made possible, firstly, by the advent of digital money that can be governed by entities outside of nation-states. Secondly, much as in the past gold was pulled from mountains, secured in banks, and then converted into productive capital, today widely available natural “technologies” can pull carbon from the sky via photosynthesis and secure it in the earth’s “vault” where it can be converted into productive soils.
Read the rest of this terrific article here.