Redesigning Industry for a Regenerative Society
Our industries currently threaten most forms of life on Earth. ‘At present, global manufacturing and production processes consume more than 220 billion tons of resources annually, all taken from the Earth’s “natural capital” – oceans, forests, plants, plains, soils, mines, and all other aspects of biodiversity’, note the editors of Alternatives to Economic Globalization, put together by Jerry Mander. Our current form of accounting considers depletion of natural resources ‘beneficial to gross national product (GNP) and gross domestic product (GDP) because they are indicators of increased economic activity. In fact, they ought to be considered negative factors, because they decrease the long- term ability of societies to sustain themselves.’ The ecological damage, depletion of resources and toxic pollution generated by companies require massive clean-ups or remediation projects. Taxpayers rather than corporations generally end up paying the bills, as the health of the planet deteriorates.
The alternative is to make planned obsolescence obsolete. All goods should be made as durable, as long lasting, as possible. They should be designed so they can be easily repaired, not thrown out. Electronic devices should be made from components that can be replaced when necessary, when an upgrade comes along. All products should also be made in such a way that they don’t contaminate the Earth. After reducing toxic emissions to a minimum, we will seek to eliminate them entirely. Companies can be made responsible for their products over their entire life cycle and be legally bound to recycle and reuse all of their elements.#Industry