Many aspects of pollution in the environment are known facts, there is no mystery that basic pollution hinges on how we conduct ourselves within the economic system, what we create and maintain through our participation. With known factual information on the one hand, we notice that on the other hand that we have lost our common sense. Thus, the guidelines that common sense offers, in how to practically live in this world, have been overridden because we abide by consumerism and profit-driven behaviours. To illustrate this point we only have to go to some of the most banal aspects of our material world, such as the dimension of packaging. It is a ‘dimension’ because there are multiple perspectives that can be taken when looking at how we deal with packaging and why.
From a common sense point of view packaging should only be done when necessary, when the circumstances are such that a practical solution will necessitate the packaging of an item. However we are so challenged through our habits within a capitalistic system that we can no longer decipher when something really needs to be packaged and when not. Through habitual acceptances we no longer question the incentive and no longer use common sense.
Extensive packaging is done on all levels of consumption. The multidimensionality of this challenge is easily seen all around us, and the types of manifestations of this phenomenon range far and deep. I will illustrate this with two examples which pinpoint a mixture of careless action in handling procedures and seductive selling techniques. Clearly this is just one aspect under the topic of pollution and protection that would change in the approach to what is best for all in the Equal Money System.
Observation for the packaging phenomenon in our societies can be readily collected when entering a grocery store. I often see William’s Christ pears wrapped in plastic bras to keep them from getting bruised. I ask myself how would this piece of fruit need to be packaged if the transport was not about getting these fruits rapidly from A to B? Because the paying customer at location B is eager to have these pears and will go to the competition if they do not get here on time. What if there could be an improvement in the method of getting these pears to the consumer a tad slower but with less packaging because the people in the middle will not have to rush so much? That way they can conduct their actions with a little more care of the content rather than wrapping the content into ‘bullet proof’ packaging so that they can throw it around.
Similarly, when I walk by the displays of plastic wrapped apples in packs of four, I ask myself whether this heavy shrink wrap is necessary because the population is unable to count to four, and therefore cannot be trusted in picking out four apples from a heap of apples, or is that the seller wants to be sure that all apples find a shopping baskets so that they can avoid being left with unwanted and damaged apples for which they incur the cost? Then what about those new age products where sage leaves are wrapped more elaborately and costly than the monetary value of the sage leave itself? Where the content matters so little because the seduction of the packaging is what sells in an ever growing and competing market.
This small window into a sliver of our packaging dimension paints a grim picture. We don’t care that plastic is polluting the oceans and killing sealife, we have entire plastic islands floating around in the Pacific Ocean that are a result of our lost common sense. The bottom line is that we have accepted something so absolutely stupid that we rather insist on our limitations instead of changing our approach; or else why wouldn’t we just collectively stand up and say ‘stop’ by voting for an Equal Money System where such stupidity is cured forever.
Let me now explore this topic from the perspective of the Equal Money System. The first rule in the Equal Money System is that we do what is best for all. We know that the Equal Money System spells the end of behaviour for profit. In other words we do not need 100 consumer products, or materials as building blocks for products, that are identical in what they do but are produced with varying overhead costs, which supposedly regulate price, planned obsolescence and general effectiveness for a larger margin of profit. None of that.
We further know that in an Equal Money System, we make the best possible products and materials because they will last a life time and therefore we do not need new versions or better design. Right from the start this will reduce much pollution, waste, and energy use because what happens in our capitalistic system is that the multiplications of consumer products with different, ever cheaper production methods and materials causes much waste, pollution and use of energy.
We are also not in a rush in an Equal Money System, because we no longer need to compete, which means we can investigate the best production methods with the least waste production, or we can make sure that the waste we produce can be easily integrated into existing eco systems as food for living organisms. Only after all this has been established then the consumer product, or material for the creation of a product, enters into circulation. Even before this cycle of investigation has begun which entails all steps from creation to decomposition or deterioration of the product, investigations will be conducted that evaluate if the product is even necessary at all.
Protection of the environment will be a build-in mechanism in the sense that we do not create products for consumption that then require us to protect the environment. By having the starting point of what is best for all before we begin with a production cycle or even with the selection process of putting a product or material into circulation, we know that it is necessary and we know that the ingredients have gone through rigorous testing on interactions with the environment.
Many solutions we have in our high-tech world are quite low tech. Let me whip out my latest example that left me flabbergasted standing in our kitchen next to the washing machine. We were trying to hook up a washing machine, and as we already had many problems with water and plumbing we were careful to conduct research to be sure we were not jeopardising a successful connection. However, one little glitch happened anyway, so that we ended up needing a plumber to come and fix it. To connect a washing machine one may not solely rely on the DIY products that are being sold to tighten the connection between the tubes of the water system with those of the washing machine. Professional plumbers use strings of hemp – yes, basic hemp that has been around for hundreds of years to make the connection so tight that no water escapes. It was a remarkable sight to see the tubes of one of our modern machines wrapped in stringy, hairy, brown hemp threads.
To summarise, three main guidelines can be put forth that will make pollution a non-issue in the Equal Money System:
Simplicity – we do not reinvent the wheel. We can use ingredients from nature that do the job and have done the job for centuries. My example here was hemp used in tightening water connections because the hemp swells up from the humidity and creates a water proof connection. There are plenty of other examples of this nature. The waste is minimal because the hemp is a perfectly integrated bio-organism that will deteriorate as food for living organisms in existing eco systems.
Need – money in the Equal Money System is not an issue. When the need for a product or material has been identified and approved as what is best for all, it will be created. It will be created from the best and most efficient production methods that integrate in the environment without polluting it.
Research – extensive testing from the creation cycle and the deterioration cycle of a particular product before it goes into circulation. As it is the only product of it’s kind because we no longer have product multiplication, how the product unfolds in use by the community can easily be monitored and any effects can be recorded and immediately be dealt with. Though this is not to say that there should be any effects at all because the more care has gone into researching the above mentioned cycles the less it is necessary to monitor the product. Monitoring will be done by those who use the product, a form of feedback in what they experience, which puts this responsibility of ongoing care for what we have created into the hands of the individual.
Finally, with these guidelines the protection of the environment from the point of pollution is not necessary because – in common sense- it is taken as a precaution that we do not pollute the environment in the first place by having procedures and mechanisms in place before we create anything that can pollute our world.