Re-inventing Construction: Proceedings of the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2010

248 Waste is society’s dirty secret. Mira Engler 1 The madness of it all: round and round in circles we go, where it stops, nobody knows. That we are trapped in a vicious circle should come as no surprise. Con- temporary civilization is driven by the desire to attain ever-higher standards of living, and the consequences leave much to be desired. The more intractable the challenges, the more entrenched our resistance to confront them. We dream of an endless supply of goods, while neglecting the aftermath of consumption-generated waste. Prosperity seems to ripen the principle of decay. Recalling Goethe’s bal- lad The Sorcerer’s Apprentice , efforts to keep means in check often spiral out of control. A self-reinforcing dynamic is fueled by the open-ended drive for material wealth. 2 And so the circle continues. While some believe that technology is the answer, others are more skeptical, arguing that reductive technical idealism will only exacerbate the mess and accel- MINE THE CITY Re: Going Around in Circles Regimes of Waste Marc Angélil and Cary Siress