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Paths to ecologically sustainable engineering

Notes from a session held at the Luminous Green Hands-On Workshop, 2nd of May 2007

Toby Borland

  • Inherent feeling of quality
  • Quality - Mass production, form ⇔ function
  • Swedish notion of property: the notion of “absolute” property is invalid
  • Ownership leads to responsibility & empowerment required
  • Theraputic effect of making something rather than buying something
  • Psychological impact of interaction with objects
  • For the average punter, not making stuff personally leads to a detachment from the process of manufacture
  • The average consumer cannot repair a manufactured object, eg, DVD player.
  • Taxing work vs. taxing finite resources: unrealistic representation and inadequate understanding of available resources.
  • Malthusian population expansions: too many people already, therefore get people to generate energy.
  • Western creativity is tied to conceptual creation rather than “craft” processes
  • Legislative pressure on manufacturers may push manufacturers abroad, some manufacturers have become competitive through developing sustainable practice “The exceptions which prove the rule”
  • No comparable natural systems have evolved to re-integrate manufacturing waste products into the biosphere
  • The scale and concentration of industrial byproducts cannot be assimilated by natural processes.
  • Manufacturing systems are social constructs which are byproducts of social isolation
  • Consumer-manufacturer divide exists as social roles become more specialized.
  • To change an established system of production from the ground up, this requires some kind of critical mass of dissidents
  • What paths exist to bypass conventional manufacturing?
  • In 3rd world countries where there is less disposable income and cheaper skilled labour, there are more resourceful home-built solutions to creating a comfortable environment.
  • Manufacturers present a significant political lobbying power, present technology enables a status quo to control required resources.
  • If the technology allows different resources to be used this represents a threat to the status quo.
  • The European Union was given as an example whereby old agricultural policies have not been adequately reformed in the light of improving food production technologies and have created an economic imbalance between the 1st and 3rd world.
  • Food production has become so cheap that a traditional agricultural worker cannot survive economically.
  • Metric of quality of life has changed.
  • Percieved as quality of goods which fulfill requirements and desires
  • Value of goods has changed with price of manufacture and uniqueness of item.
  • The perception of quality as an objective value has diminished in western postmodernist philosophy. Islamic fundamentalism can be seen in sharp contrast as an objective (and modern) philosophy.
  • As the means and tools of production have become divorced from the ownership and participation of consumers, there is a reduced perception of the entire process and its ramifications.
  • Is there a similarity between the isolation and disenfranchisement of the individual from the environment and the absence of a modern belief system?
luminous/eco-engineering.txt · Last modified: 2008/01/22 04:46 (external edit)