Conservation is not some huge sacrifice

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Many people seem to believe that conservation and “going green” has to be some great sacrifice and that's why they cannot do it, also because the believe that it is expensive. If you find going green expensive you are doing it wrong, seriously wrong, and this is not the first time that I am saying this.

Conservation and being green isn’t some huge sacrifice. It doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things.

It just means that you aren’t constantly getting rid of perfectly good stuff to replace it with stuff that you don’t need. A perfect table, especially if it is well made, is perfect for hundreds of years. You don’t need a new one every couple years. Our culture is called ‘materialistic,’ but that’s not even correct, because ‘materialism’ implies that we value our possessions. And we don’t. We get rid of them, then we destroy Africa, or the Amazonian Rainforest, or some other places, to get more shit – pardon my French, as they say – that nobody needs. There’s no more pressing problem right now than the depletion of the Earth and her resources. The Earth can tolerate a lot of punishment, but if there isn’t a change in the way we consume, there is no way it can survive, or better we will be able to survive on it. We will gladly give money help people in need. But we can’t equate the act of conservation with helping billions of people for generations to come. Strange.

Yes, it is true that our stuff, nowadays, is made with so-called “built-in obsolescence”, which means that it is designed, yes, designed, to break (down) after a certain period of time, often within days or weeks after the warranty expires. It is, as said, designed in such a way by the manufacturers today so that they can keep selling us the same stuff over and over and over again without having to even think of developing better products, thus also saving on research and development. A total win-win situation for the capitalists and their shareholders and a continuous lose-lose one for us, the “consumers”.

There is no need to design and build products that break after a given time and this can be seen by the products from years gone by that still work today and which can be opened up and repaired – often quite easily – should they break down.

The whole affair of creating a built-in obsolescence started in earnest not long after World War Two when American corporation realized that suddenly they were not making the money anymore that they did during the war when the military needed to get new stuff all the time because of the way stuff was lost and destroyed on the battlefields in Europe and the Far East. However, to a degree it already began with Osram and others when they decided to use filaments in their light bulbs that would have a limited lifespan so they could sell bulbs time and again.

There are still ways today to make the choice of buying things that will last and then, the other choice is to keep holding on to the things that we have and stat are working fine for as long as possible instead of replacing them every year or so just because a new version of it may have come onto the market.

That also is conservation and it is not just environmental conservation that is conservation. We can chose by how we buy things, where we buy things and how we look after the things we buy and have and the latter is the easiest way to “go green” and it does not have to cost anything at all, especially not the looking after our things. Buying things that are made better and repairable may cost a little more in the beginning but is well worth it for your pocketbook and for the environment in the long run.

© 2015