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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Why Eco Products aren't Climate Friendly

Posted on 21 September 2022 by Guest Author

Wherever we go we're being advertised stuff. Whether it's fast fashion or the latest eco product, buying things is meant to be the solution to everything. But even the product with the best eco qualifications is nowhere near as good as the product that we don't buy at all. So if you want to save money and the planet, stop buying (new) stuff!

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  1. Great to hear that more people are realising that we really need to stop by stuff that we don't need and with Christmas coming up a very important message.

    There are of course things that we do need and what we need to think about is values. At present we measure success in terms of indescriminate growth regardless of its usefulness or value. Our economic models need to change otherwise we will never solve the energy/ environment problems.

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  2. This presents a great understanding regarding Sustainable Development that is Nothing New.

    The older video "The Story of Stuff" is a great 20 minute presentation that is just one example of this issue being well presented many years ago. It is presented in a way that children can understand (tragically, this type of learning is resisted or discouraged by many adults, even some supposed Adult Leaders).

    You can find "The Story of Stuff" on YouTube. But I suggest you go to the website that has been developed after that video was produced: Homepage - Story of Stuff at https://www.storyofstuff.org/

    "The Story of Stuff" video is linked at the bottom of that webpage. But many other helpful videos have been developed as can be seen on the Homepage.

    People should indeed learn to be careful about, and limit, their purchases of Stuff to limit the harm done by their actions (everybody's actions add up to become the future). But everyone should also be limiting their personal use of artificial energy. Even 'renewable energy production and use' has negative consequences. So it is important for people and societies to collectively limit their artificial energy use to 'essential Needs', not 'Popular and Profitable perceived to be essential Wants'. That reduction of energy use will help more rapidly reduce fossil fuel energy use.

    There are many regions where renewable energy generation is being built in parallel with increased energy use. This can mean the fossil fuel use continues longer than it has to. And in some cases fossil fuel use increases even as more renewable energy generation is developed.

    In closing. The harm limiting thing to do is download the Story of Stuff video and show it to your friends. Each download, or streaming, or sharing of all the data in a video is an increase of 'less-than-essential use of artificial energy', especially if the data for the video is higher definition transmitted over 'faster data transfer systems'. 5G is not necessarily a 'sustainable improvement'.

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  3. Good advice, however while we try to keep our appliances as long as possible the industry is going in the opposite direction. The days  where you could expect to own an appliance for 20 years and spare parts were kept in stock a long time, and made readily available to anyone, are long gone. It appears the latest home appliances are designed to only last about 10 years, and spare parts are only kept in stock a few years. My oven had some problems just last week, and I was talking to the repair technician about such issues. And sometimes now even simple repairs are more expensive than replacing the appliance. And forget repairing things yourself. The industry makes that as difficult as possible.

     

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  4. This is truly most perplexing. We have a cabin in the hills of WV, a family heirloom. It has a 1952 Kelvinator electric stove and oven, a 1948 Maytag wringer washer, a 1938 Coldspot refigerator that we replaced the Freon and gaskets about six years ago, a Rheem water heater built in 1971 and a 1952 DeWalt radial arm saw in the shed. They all work. I realize their styles are outdated, but their "looks" has little to do with their utility. It seems to me that industry could change the looks of an appliance, but retain a much longer reliability of the "guts" of the appliance that provide much more "in service" time and the opportunity to have it repaired when finally inoperative.

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  5. slumgullioridge,

    What you see is the result of several trends. One is the enormous increase in productivity brought by automation and other factos. It is such that pretty much any industry nowadays has the potential to quickly reach production overcapacity, the capability of making far more of its products that the public can absorb.

    The public is subjected to the highest possible advertisement and marketing pressures to incite buying, even in the absence of any real need, but that too reaches a limit. Programmed obsolescence is the next solution. Decreasing the quality and durability guarantees that a level of need of the product is retained that allows to channel the ridiculously excessive production. It also has the advantage of increasing profit margins, since lower quality products are usually cheaper to make.

    Some manufacturers find even better ways, by actively controlling performance, like Apple, who intentionally slowed down older versions of their I-Phones to incite consumers to buy the newer models. This is the latest iteration in that trend, made possible by the company retaining control of a product that the consumer never really "owns." John Deere creates a somewhat similar situation with their farm equipment, by introducing electronic hardware and software that the end user can never have full control over, depriving them of the option to repair the equipment themselves.

    The goal of these manufacturers is to place everyone in the position of a leasee rather than owner, with essentially no control over the product, how long they are going to keep it, what changes can be made to it, what data it collects, compiles and shares with what entities, etc.

    It is also far more interesting for the manufacturer to be in a position where they receive a subscription, of an amount fixed by them, on a regular basis and for a predictable period of time, than a one time lump sum with no clear idea of what more is to come from that consumer in the future. The subscription/lease model is also more favorable by reducing the options for second-hand markets of used goods, which ideally for them would be completely eradicated.

    Calling them "manufacturers" has itself become a misnomer. They are financial-industrial conglomerates that outsource the real manufacturing work to third parties, who interestingly can make products at the same plant that will come out wearing a variety of appearances and brand names (this is especially true for appliances, but also applies to automobiles and innumerable other products).

    The very meaning of a brand has been considerably diluted. It is mostly a construct of advertisement, an abstraction that advertisers attempt to have us establish a relationship with. Keep your old power tools and take good care of them, they will soon be true things of the past, not just as objects, but as concepts.

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