Progress – Who Needs It?

Technical progress has spurred some wasteful use of resources; but it’s also key to green thinking, argues Andrew Donoghue.

Switching PCs off at night and sensible recycling are just some of the ways to tackle climate change, we are told. But if, as a society, we are really concerned about global warming, surely some more radical action is called for?

For example, why not just ban progress? I mean we’ve got garlic crushers, iPods, electric cars and SuBo on Britain’s Got Talent – how much more progress do we really need?

We could simply decide that all the current designs for cars, washing machines, medical endoscopes and wind turbines actually work pretty well thank you very much; so let’s just stop developing any new ones.

If your toaster breaks down, don’t buy the latest Toast-amatic 3000 with self-levelling Bagel cradle; just fix the one you have. Or if you really must consume, order exactly the same model again.

Sweat those assets

A ban on all thing new would go down well with environmentalists, who are very keen on the idea of using things for as long as possible, otherwise known as “sweating assets”. Their reasoning is that everything comes with an in-built carbon debt accrued during its production.

For more go to my Green Scene Column

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