Sustainability is Too Difficult

It doesn’t seem like people are talking about sustainability anymore. Was the idea of eliminating negative environmental impact a fad? Did it just become boring? Maybe the word itself became to annoying and was replaced by more recently coined terms like “ethical consumerism” and “moral purchasing”? No, I did not make either of those terms up but they sure sound great and I wish I had. I used to think that we would know people were serious about sustainability and the effects of consumerism on our environment when NASCAR was banned. Yes, probably selfish for me to single out just one form of recreational fuel consumption. With that thinking, we may as well just eliminate both speed-boat and bicycle racing--have you seen all the cars that follow the cyclists? Nevertheless, the elimination of NASCAR as proof that we as consumers were finally realizing our environmental impact was just my thinking before I started enjoying NASCAR myself. So for now I feel ok about their fuel consumption

So, as a new NASCAR fan, my new thinking is if we, the consumers, are truly concerned for the environment we will eliminate all fireworks. Aren’t fireworks really just burning money anyways? And, where does all the stuff that blows up go?  Furthermore, I have never heard of a fireworks foundation or a ‘buy one box of fireworks and another box is donated to some impoverished child oversees’ gimmick. Then again, I don’t really enjoy fireworks so this too may be self-serving. Come to think of it, I don’t enjoy exercising either, so that may top my list too. Think about all the wasted energy we expend each and every year by people consuming calories just to hastily burn them off on treadmills and stationary bicycles? To think what we could do with all that captured energy.  Maybe there is something I can do to restart the conversation. I could prove I am taking sustainability seriously when I, myself, stop buying every new iPhone and iPad that comes out. We all know that all Apple stuff is basically crack in a technology form. A few years ago, I recall reading in the NYTimes that over 100 million phones end up in landfills every year.  I think the article also claimed the phones are shipped oversees and then separated into raw materials by children in India and these kids often get sick from doing this work. Now that I think about it, yes, not changing phones all the time seems almost a moral obligation of mine but damn those new phones are always so cool. As a consumer, that choice out of all should be the easiest yet it still feels like I am probably going to get the iphone7.

Isn’t the real answer to sustaining the planet obvious: fewer people consuming less stuff. But I do develop new products for a living, so the idea of fewer people buying fewer new things is unpleasant and, in fact makes me a little queasy. For obvious reasons, I want more consumers, and I want them buying all kinds of new things, but not bamboo things. Bamboo sucks.  PLA is pretty lame too. Come to think of it, this blog has me really thinking and it’s depressing on both the environmental and social morality fronts.  I am waiting for the return of optimism, next post.

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