Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The future of products, materials and consumption

I've given quite some thought on the state of our planet, our civilization and our planet's finite resources. Given how everything has it's lifespan, I came to wonder why we allow profit to dictate the terms for our demise as a species on this planet.

It comes to mind that given our current resources being finite, we should strive to produce products which are sustainable and upgradeable in a way that allows us to limit the excess waste which accumulates after excessive production. An example would be, imagine if we produced a car out of the sturdiest most reliable material, and designed it in a way that it was both lenient on the environment as well as easily maintainable forever or at least for a very long time. Or imagine a computer designed with international standards so that component switching for upgrades were made seamlessly simple and the product itself would be "ever-lasting".

But you know, things aren't supposed to last for two reasons. One reason is the very obvious law which governs the universe, being how nothing is everlasting and that all things will decay. The other more profound reason is simply profit. Everything we have is not flawlessly designed, but rather intentionally flawed so that the product will break. Once it breaks, we are forced to either buy a new one or to repair the old one by buying new stuff to it. This is how companies stay afloat.

It's not innovation that drives or excels our technology, it's the failure of it. Just look at the explosive rate of which cellphones are being produced. A Sony Ericsson official once said that their products (cellphones) were designed to last 2-3 years at best because that was their intended lifespan. After that it was thought that the customer would purchase a new phone. And now with that in mind, try to picture your own consumption and how many times you've purchased a new phone, laptop or any other device. Interesting isn't it?

It's not until we look back and think about how much we've spent on these silly upgrades that we realize and, in a way, regret our expenditures in the past. But how were we to know? And how are we to refrain from this? You might think about these things today, but in 6-12 months from now you'll be standing there in your shop ready to purchase x item again. And so it continues until there is nothing left to produce, until there's nothing left at all.

The truth is, it's not the companies that are to blame for polluting the planet. Nor the government for allowing them or not enforcing high enough taxes or whatever. It's YOUR fault. It' my fault, it's every consumers fault - for not considering the moral and environmental price that our consumption pays.

Ah well, enough ranting, time to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disqus for the x-files