Written by Mathieu Obringer, Second Chance 2021 – Edited by Bianca Rêgo, ESC Wake-Up 2022-23
Although these two concepts may seem far apart, they are very similar. At camping « Le Belvédère » in Lastours, the volunteers of “Initiative et développement citoyen” (IDC) use resilience to give a second life to detritus.
Resilience is a psychological concept that defines « the ability of an individual to build and live satisfactorily” despite difficulties. However, this idea is also related to ecology. Indeed, resilience also refers to “the ability of an ecosystem or a group of individuals to recover from an external disturbance”. At the Lastours campsite, this is as true for the volunteers as it is for the waste.
In a world where resources are limited and where it is common to throw away something that is still usable, it is essential to use resilience to live in a more sustainable world. It is important to note that a human being produces 0.74kg of waste every day. In one year, this amounts to 255.5kg. If we multiply this figure by the world’s population, it comes to… 2,010,000,000 tons of waste per year. This is only domestic wastes and there are disparities between countries. Indeed, in developing countries, waste recycling is not as efficient as in developed countries. Even though a minority of waste (19%) is recycled or reused.
The importance of resilience for the future
This is where resilience becomes important. As the World Bank predicts a 70% increase in waste in thirty years’ time, mankind needs to get out of the disruption of pollution caused by our lifestyles. Moreover, nearly 80 million tons of construction waste are not recycled in France, even if we have to admit that many efforts are being made in this field. Thus, giving waste a second chance is a proof of resilience, as much for the volunteers who wish to get out of this infernal machine as for the « rubbish » that can still prove its usefulness.
For almost two months, 16 young Europeans from Greece, Denmark, Italy and France have been demonstrating their resilience by reusing waste for construction. Thanks to donations from several IDC partners, they have been able to acquire pallets, glass and many other items to give them a second chance. The only things purchased during the construction process were screws.
Thus, the IDC volunteers built several constructions with their own hands using recycled materials. Firstly, benches made of planks and pallets. Secondly, a shelter to house the ponies’ and donkeys’ food, also made of pallets, but also of doors found in rubbish bins. Finally, the volunteers are currently building a greenhouse with boards and glass, also recovered from rubbish bins, as well as a dry toilet with pallets.
Several hundred kilos of detritus have been saved thanks to the initiative of the European volunteers. Although this is far from alleviating the heavy burden of annual waste in the world, it is nevertheless a first step and a solution to move towards a more sustainable world.