We live in the woods. Its sounds greet us when we wake up: the chirping of birds, the rustling of chipmunks in the leaves, the funny gobble of toms looking for hens.
Last year, we bought a small downtown pied-à-terre. We wanted to experience city living to see if availing ourselves of city services was a viable retirement strategy.
The sounds that wake us there are made by humans.
Twice each week, on recycling day, it's the sounds of the homeless sifting through the refuse in our bins.
The citizen in me is the first to wake: "Society has failed these people and I'm snug in bed."
Then the environmentalist: "How wasteful are we that the bins are so full of useable stuff?"
Then the citizen gets riled: "Are you begrudging these people even your castoffs"?
The professional sustainist in me speaks up and now I'm fully awake. "It's not just a social issue, or an environmental one. It's also an economic problem. Creating waste takes work, which takes money. Except for the occasional 5¢ bottle refund, the money is flowing up while the garbage is flowing down. It's a systems problem".
The system is broken.
And now it's keeping me up at night, too.