Very slowly (since somewhere around early December), I’ve been absorbing Elizabeth Royte’s book Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. This is a wonderful book that makes me think a lot about my freshman year in college, when I did, in fact, follow the trail of my own trash. But that’s another post.
There’s a part of the book where Royte is talking to the manager of a New York scrap yard, and when describing the amount of scrap metal the author was seeing versus the amount of metal processed by the yard in a single year, the manager, Steve Shinn, said that it was "spoonfuls of an elephant". What a wonderful, wonderful turn of phrase that applies to this nation and its approach to energy conservation and environmentalism perfectly, with one minor tweak: we tackle the issue in spoonfuls of a white elephant.