Friday 15 November 2013

Who Cleans Up After Us?

Last lesson Friday, my Music teacher started getting into some really deep stuff- what do you want to be when you grow up? That's a pretty daunting question (to me, at least) because, unlike others, I've never lived in that young innocent phase where I wanted to rule the world or be a princess. I'm not quite sure why though, because it's always great to imagine, and little kids come up with the best jobs in the world. 

Anyway, he started asking who wanted to be- lawyers, doctors, surgeons, accountants - the jobs that most parents tell their kids to strive for. After he asked all of these questions his face went serious and he started asking who wanted to be plumbers, farmers, pipe fixer or garbage collected. Unsurprisingly, no one put up their hand. He proceeded to ask, "If no-one was a plumber, farmer or garbage collector, where would our world be?" 

All of us, being normal middle schoolers, just laughed it off- some argued back, others just shrugged. When I got home and talked to my dad about it, he told me to watch a TED Talk by Robin Nagle. I really love TED Talks, and so does my family. There are brilliant talks that get you thinking by a whole range of people.

Robin Nagle's speech: What I discovered in New York City Trash is really interesting. She actually dug deeper and took on a role with the Department of Sanitation. Robin drove the trucks and got to see first hand how you are treated after the uniform is put on and how dangerous it can be to be a sanitation worker. Nearly 11,000 tons of garbage is produced by citizens of New York City everyday. She discovered how important being a sanitation worker is and how, if trash isn't collected, it spills out of our control and harms us.

I guess it's a point- trash is part of a cycle and we wouldn't be able to do without certain people to help out. But for kids like me, it's not something parents really want to here. My father is pretty open-minded to these kind of things, but my Mum wasn't too impressed. My friends parents also had similar reactions- what is the point of sending us to such a great school to come out a farmer.

But who would clean up after us if the entire world were lawyers or accountants or doctors?

And what would happen if the whole world were cleaners or plumbers or pipe fixers?


  1. Wow! What a great thoughtful blog post. I love that you are using this space and your writing to work through these ideas. I think sometime society (our parents too) want us to be safe and financial stable. As if our happiness is connected to the job we have and the money we make from it, but really our happiness is connected to meeting our own needs.

    You are going to this skill to become an independent, kind and resourceful person, not to be a lawyer or an accountant. You have lots of time to learn and grow and explore the world. Thanks for allowing me too think too.

    Great job. Looking forward to what else you write. Curious though if you could b anything regardless of the money or what your parents want, what would you be.

  2. Wow! I remember what Mr. T-Mac told us but this made me look at it in a completely different perspective. Nice!

  3. #deep. But jokes aside, that was really cool. I loved how you ended with a question. It really got me thinking about all the people who do these jobs and how important they really are