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Rose Coloured Green Scene
I think most of us can agree that the consumption of non-renewable resources is fundamentally destructive, thus the universal effort to seek alternative renewable resources for our collective consumption. Our vocabulary has gained a litany of buzzwords associated with restoring the health of our planet: green, sustainable, and eco-friendly. These terms have become marketing adjectives applied to all manner of goods in order to seduce consumers and distract us from considering the real issues and effective solutions. In Grapevines many years ago, my Green Scene contributions were pragmatic and logical assessments of innovative materials and design, particularly as they apply to building construction.
Building net-zero houses and platinum LEED institutions is relatively easy compared to solving the blooming culture of “disposability”. There seems to be increasing supplies of plastic gadgets, vinyl furniture, synthetic clothes, excessive packaging, and disposable electronics; not because consumers are demanding them, but rather corporations are perpetuating consumption, increasing profit margins, and designing obsolescence in products which used to endure decades of use. Facile fashion and abundant consumption have replaced the quest for quality when considering purchases. Several years ago, I was inspired by an invitation to a birthday party where only ‘second hand’ gifts were accepted. The increasing number of consignment and thrift shops is evidence that there are already enough ‘products’ in our world and we need to recover some of the values which have been stripped through corporate greed. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on disposable Christmas gifts, consider ‘re-gifting’ experienced quality goods. Consider that many of us buy “used” cars, accept ‘”used” plates at a restaurant, sleep in a “used” bed at a hotel, sit in a “used” seat at a theatre and employ many “used” items in the course of our days. There is an abundance of abandoned treasures just waiting to be adopted.
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