Achieving a more sustainable urban environment requires more than just explaining how to help. Facts and statistics inform us but rarely move us to action. Telling the story behind that information helps to build a more complete understanding of how our own choices and actions can contribute either to the problem or the solution. A project we did to generate discussion on just that featured a statement from one of our interview subjects that hits the nail on the head. He said “When you buy something, consider what happens when you’re done with it, where does it go?”
This MIT project in New York and Seattle helps tell that part of the story. By allowing trash to be tagged and tracked you can see the “migration patterns” of thousands of pieces of trash to see exactly where they go and how much travel, and energy, was required to get it all there. This is really great use of technology and storytelling to help visualize the problem and generate awareness and hopefully motivate people to think more about the myriad choices they make each day.
MIT’s Trash | Track page
(NOTE: Their blog seems to be abandoned as of Jan 2010)