For some time now I have been convinced that technology will save us from environmental destruction. Lately however I have been seeing innovation after innovation (especially in sustainable and eco fashion) inspired by, or just down right replicated from, traditional ways. The latest was biodegradable disposable plates made from leaves with in inner layer of cardboard.
The technique involved was heavily reliant on technology and machinery to press each plate into a mold for mass production. The products get shipped all over the world for use and then disposed of. While initially I thought this idea was amazing (and it is, in comparison to plastic throw away plates) it got me thinking “are we doing it all wrong?”
Is mass production on tech savvy machinery, in countries that have cheap labour, then shipping it around the world on fossil fuel hungry transport really going to save us or just buy us time. What happens when the resources that make the technology are mined beyond existence? What happens when our toaster turns into an asset for its precious steel? Or when the tech that is used to recycled our plastics for the “recycled plastic containers” can’t get parts? Or our solar panels break and there is nothing left to fix them? Bit gloomy and dramatic I know, but there is a very real (and conveniently not talked about) probability...
Have we gotten so deep into our technologically “advanced” ways that we can’t (or won’t) see what is the most sustainable way to live?
Now I have been a big fan of tapping away on my computer, reaching the world to tell people about what I do, sending orders around Australia and Europe. I don’t pretend to be perfect (whatever that is). However I can’t escape from my most recent realisation: is the way of the future in the past?
Is it about becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant communities, and what does that look like, how does it work? Is using only local renewable and well managed resources without the need to order leaf/paper plates from India to throw into the bins the way? What leads us to not wanting to do this? Is it that we always want more? Maybe we are biologically programmed to get more and more for “survival”. Is it entitlement? Greed? Marketing?
I am going to sit with this and have a think and get back to you. Please feel free to contribute to the conversation in the comments below.
It is a complex topic and one that has intrigued my inner psychologist/anthropologist (yep, I have a degree in that too haha). I think the answer is clear but HOW we inspire people to simplify, want for less, only buy local, work harder for less is a tricky one...