20 solutions: or why we need to quit big industry as we know it.
In this world there are now so many people that each solution to an Everyday problem (such as drinking water or groceries or hygiene or pet food) needs to be solved in a sustainable and diverse way. Many of these problems have been solved by inventors or labs or others, though the products have not seen the widespread use that a plastic bottle has. Yet each problem of everyday need requires many many different solutions because it is not sustainable to continuously produce any one thing on such a large scale. For each product made, there and then it becomes a part of nature. It makes sense to then adapt our strategies to solve these everyday problems in such a way that not any one resource is over-exploited or over-utilized or made outside of that simple truth–what is created becomes nature. If we develop something in the lab which then becomes something millions of people in dozens of countries use, we also run the risk of it being a problem to reintegrate back into nature due to the sheer volume of need.
Take a plastic bag as an example. The plastic is used once in many cases, discarded to the trash, recycled or even put in a bin to be reused. Yet a trip to any store that uses them yields multiple-such baggies. Multiply that number by the number of shoppers and consumers and you see that the exponential rate of its growth due to widespread use, means that it it then becomes a much larger Factor back in nature where it was already slowly integrated by nature into digestible materials or constituent parts. The same could be said of deodorant, toothpaste, q-tips, toilet paper, facial creams, smoothies, soft drinks, fast food meals, most groceries, computers, electronics, carpets, walls, paints… The products are endless seeming in the variety of their lack of sustainable imagination or the compassion exercised as regards their ecological impact.
The idea and even the philosophy is the same in all things that we produce, especially industrial things. As soon as we begin to mass-produce and take the toil out of production, so these everyday products also have a much greater potential to lose that living, special quality that comes of hard won effort. So it makes a very simple sort of sense that the more we explore industrial production to make our lives easier it still, in its methodology and its philosophy, ends up making dehumanized that which it proposes to comfort… the living.
And so I ask: how can you make it a principle of mass production to not make everything alike or specifically the same? We clone our lifestyle companions–toothbrushes, phones, cups, shoes, utensils, cars, bags, etc.– into lifeless cheap plastic and alien things, and yet all of those qualities are not in themselves a bad thing. Like some mad genius elves we have taken as inspiration the guy that became rich off of the little umbrellas for mixed drinks or the little plastic parts which do the good work of convenience and abundance for many in need and yet forget the impact that’s such Solutions can have. There may be a simple ingenuity, even genius in these ideas and products, and yet so many of such acts of Genius throughout our recent history have been plagued by merciless and long term destruction in the thoughtlessness of the applications and harms of such Grand ideas.
And so where is the praise of simple-minded folk or those who did not create things for riches or for the hope that they will dominate their field of influence. I ask: where is the humanity or the compassion in the aspiration to achieve wealth or stardom, when every one millionaire creates 100 poor folk?
Let there be a light at the end of the tunnel.