LETTER- Ask the right questions, please

Thanks to the Hook for updating us on the floundering state of recycling efforts ["(Re)cycle of life," February 8 cover story]. Now we have a good excuse to give in to the midwinter doldrums. Recycling used to be our one verifiable, personalized environmental victory. It was an achievement reminding us of other possibilities.

Or maybe not. Costs are tallied, and the illusion is tainted. The numbers are scandalous. The Hook's writer is irked. It shouldn't cost money to save the Earth. Unlike lunar landing programs, the Earth should reimburse us for our efforts. Could be a lingering notion left over from an ancestral pioneer mentality– Earth as product value, Earth as uncommodified treasure.

Writers of exposés such as this one carry on the tradition. They aren't too curious about the poor market for glass. Or the profitlessness of plastic. They understand which questions not to ask. They know exactly where the boundaries are and who they can pick on. They play by established rules. That way they can avoid a critique of capital acquisition and the commodity mindset.

The market economy is devouring our planet and our dreams. Everyone knows it. Everyone accepts it. We stand at the edges. Behind the competitive expediency of the present, the real answers lie. And the real questions also. Next time, please, do ask them.

Sky Hiatt