Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sustainable living the Garbage Warrior way

Because this documentary can be found and viewed in full on YouTube, I'm posting the full video here. However, since I'm not sure if this a legal upload, I'll remove the full lenght version and replace it with a trailer of the documentary if anyone has issues with this being posted here.

There are many very interesting things said and highlighted in this film, but I want to point out two issues that were only lightly touched upon that are possibly the biggest hurdles of this sort of building (and thinking!) becoming the norm.
1. is the complexity of the US legislature system. I say the US because this is what's shown in the documentary, but the reality of it is that the same complexcity plagues all countries. At least all western countries. Even with the best of intentions and with the most uncorrupt of government officials, there is still the physical system of governing with laws that have to be written so that there's room to interpert enough but not too much. This is an effort to make those exceptions, to account for those human variables, that make all situations unique so that a rich man stealing a loaf of bread out of boredom and a poor man stealing one out of hunger could, in theory, be judged on their individual terms. Does that flexibility end up working like this in practice? Well... depending on which part you want to focus on either occasionally yes or occasionally no. But imagine if it wasn't there at all. Because of the INflexibility of the law, all exeptions would have to be written down individually as they came along and the system would become completely inpenetrable within just a few years. Currently passing new legislations, changing the old ones, is hard, and not just because politicans don't understand but because the political system is massive, not easily penetrable and is made up of humans with varying degrees of desire to improve it and more importantly, with varying points of view on what exactly is an improvement.

Which brings us neatly to point number 2. While these ecological houses that use no power or water (and grow their own food) are magnificient and exactly the sort of thing that we should be working towards they, at the same time, completely undermine our current societal structure. I'm not saying this is good or bad, just that that's what it does. Power to heat your homes, cook your food, use electronics.. all comes from companies that provide jobs, that provide tax money to the state. Same with water. And same with the food you eat. If all these areas of business would suffer massive reduction in their global revenues (because let's face it, most food companies are owned by the same handful of parent companies meaning all that money falls into very few hands at the business end of the line regardles of which brands you buy. And that is me being cynical.) this would be a big deal as far as global markets go. It would force a change in how and what we view as work and how we support ourselves because the manufacturing of basic living essentials would no longer be "outsourced" to companies and would no longer provide jobs enough to have any economy leaning on them. The western world is already suffering from the change of moving away from funding their economy by manufacturing essential goods. Those goods largely come from cheap labour countries these days and yet our societal structure has not changed to create jobs in producing non-tangible goods. Producing content. It clings on to the idea that services, ideas, art.. are not worth money or at the very least, are not essential to human life. Or if they are, they are in a very exclusive way where the charismatic talker can make people pay millions for something that is expected for free from the less charismatic one (yes, graphic designers, I'm looking at you).
All of this would have to change if this type of ecological living became the norm. Or the other way around: All of this needs to change if ecological living is to become the norm. A functioning alternative to a solely capitalistic system.
And that is no small change for the western society.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Talking to strangers

I swear, every single time this happoens, that you talk to a stranger for a wee bit longer, when you ask them about things that are important to them, they turn out to be wonderful and intelligent people.
And now you say "Yes, but talk to anyone long enough and they'll show their true colours in saying something mindblowingly stupid."
What, you've never said anything stupid? You've never been wrong in your entire life? You never changed your opinion when you learned differently or simply saw more of life?

That's the secret to people: we're built to strive for awesomeness, but none of us are perfect, so it's totally up to you, the person asking the questions and listening to people reply, to decide which bit you choose to concentrate on: the bit that doesn't know better, had a bad day or hasn't had the exact same life experience as you've had or the one that's just like you.
Scary, eh? :D