Outside the Detroit Public Library, sunlight streams off of every building. It’s a beautiful day… then I pass a trash and I’m a little heartbroken. Well, it’s made to be a trash can, but some time before it was a newspaper stand, and this is the reason I stop in my tracks.
At some point, this trash receptacle used to be a gateway to knowledge and information. Every Wednesday morning some worker or student had a tradition to pick up a newspaper. Now, it’s a stomach for garbage and lots of dents. No newspapers. No words. No learning. Just trash. Metro Times is faded, but still visible evidence of its former glory.
In a way, it’s a bit reminiscent of the print media decline. Everything is becoming digital and perhaps this is a reflection of that transition. It may also be a mirror of “the strain of anti-intellectualism (that) has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,” in the words of Issac Asimov, if this decline is also illustrating the public’s general disinterest with social awareness. Technology provides significantly easier and faster accessibility to knowledge but if it’s available and we aren’t taken advantage of it then it is no matter.
However, there is certainly not equal access to education, which makes this all the more upsetting. This trashcan potentially blocks someone’s access to one form of information: the newspaper.
As a writer, its also saddening to see other writers’ expression of opinion and the kind of creativity that urges other people to think being suppressed. Reading and reflecting upon other’s work provides the opportunity to develop your own thoughts and ideas further. With the digital overhaul, if someone doesn’t have access to a computer, how likely are they to be able to read the content of this newspaper or another if all these stands become mountains of waste?
On the upside, I suppose the trash isn’t on the ground. Locals could have littered, but instead they threw trash in what I assume to be an abandoned stand. So at least people are being semi-conscious of pollution. Although, many of the noticeable items such as water bottles and bags could be recycled in order to be truly environmentally conscious.
Perhaps the technological literally revolution could be is the way of the future but I don’t think old stands should become trashcans. What a disgrace to the history of the newspaper and the thousands of words and hours devoted by writers to inform people.
If these stands do become abandoned, there are many other ways they can be transformed. One environmentally conscious way being by creating a miniature garden, which is already occurring in some urban areas.
Since the newspaper vending machines have a door that opens, the inside can be filled with nourishing soil for flowers or other plants. In a city it’s often difficult to find places for agriculture and although this would be small, it’s a very innovative idea.
Whether it be a newspaper stand or anything else that becomes abandoned, in the future, we should try to exercise creativity in finding environmentally beneficial alternatives.