Book:The Upcycle

Fair warning, I haven’t actually read the book yet. I have read the foreward by President Bill Clinton, and half the introduction. They believe in changing the way things are designed to make them not only sustainable but beneficial throughout their initial use and beyond. It’s a good idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop it. I have to go back to my manifesto though. They are trying to change things on a corporate and governmental scale. That’s good and we need big thinkers, but I think the market is driven more by demand than anything else.

If Americans didn’t demand cheap, throwaway goods, they wouldn’t get them. If Americans didn’t demand things right now no matter the season or cost to the environment, we wouldn’t get them that way. If citizens of the world demand sustainable practices, corporations and governments will have no choice but to comply. America is supposedly all about the Free Market. That’s how it works. The supply responds to the demand. If no one is buying, the corporations will stop producing that and start producing something that will sell.

I have a feeling that no rancher actually wants to run a feedlot. They can’t enjoy seeing cattle up to their knees in their own filth, or sick and dying. I feel like, if given the choice, many would rather raise cattle the old fashioned way, or at least in a humane manner. It’s market forces that make feedlots and their equivalents profitable. I want to say that McDonalds is the largest buyer of beef in the world. What does that say about us?

So, because they influence the entire supply line, people keep trying to change the way McDonald’s does business. The only way that will happen is if enough consumers demand changes. Because of the increased concerns about health in the last few decades, McDonalds added salads and yogurt parfaits to their menus. It didn’t happen because people lobbied the board of directors, it happened because they were losing market share to healthier fast food chains. We are consumers. We must demand different types of products (witness the explosion of “green” products in the last decade).

Individuals will default to the easiest option generally. We need to make the kinds of products and processes the authors are proposing the easiest and most plentiful options. I am looking forward to seeing if the authors deliver on the great potential of their proposal.

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One Response to Book:The Upcycle

  1. bmary says:

    We live in such a throw away culture, it’s terrifying. You literally cannot buy something that will last. I talked to a guy who repaired washing machines. He said regardless of expense in the initial purchase, all of the new ones will only last 7 years. Then what? Toss the whole heap to the curb, buy a new one that lasts 7 years? What a waste.

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