Blueprint for Change an essay divided in 7 chapters, by our contributor Carlos Cuellar Brown. In the several chapters, such as “Change,” “Energy,” “Self-reliance,” or Food autonomy,” Cuellar explains and under builds his vision of how we can create a wiser, healthier and wholesome future.
Weekly, we will post 2 chapters, read 6th one below!
From Consumers to Stewardship of the Commons /Reorganization of Industrial Production.
We must reverse the over-consumption model that puts us at odds with reality. Mass production has accustomed us to the consumption of useless uniform products, we have been brainwashed by the market place to surrender our right to choose wisely, instead we obsessively consume junk and stuff we don't need. Market forces are not necessarily based on the demand of goods and services that are
efficient, good for us and intelligently designed, instead we are driven to behave like raptors consuming unnecessary goods and
products. The designers of these goods and products, design them with short shelf lives and cheap parts with planned obsolescence incorporated as a market strategy, this traps us in the endless wheel
of consumerism that ends up depleting our most vital and valuable resources. Consequence of this culture of excess and its destructive cycle are everywhere like in the land fills of electronic garbage,
like in the transistor wastelands and plastic islands that float our seas. The occupation of the commons with non-reusable and non-recyclable garbage is creating a gigantic collateral disaster, a
damage not accounted for in our voracious consumption habits. The new economic model based on stewardship will have to re-examine externalities and address the right scale of goods for production. Technology and innovation is certainly a wonderful asset, a tool that has made our modern lives very comfortable and convenient, however we seem to have disassociated our balance in the ecosystem consuming manically and recklessly. We could be a lot smarter and take
innovation and design to another level where the essential and best of what makes us modern is generated and no more. The gadgetry of this economy will be designed and built for longevity, making emphasis on robustness, elegant efficiency, modularity and long useful shelf-life.
This will create retro-fitting economies engineered for maintenance and service economics, where we re-frame and edit the need for more and more new extinguishable gadgets and machines.
The industrial apparatus has generated this mass scale production frenzy of irrelevant throw away stuff; junk food is but one expression of this culture. The consumption of this merchandise is conveniently designed by corporations to keep us enslaved and their profits rising
Modernity has introduced into our lives many good things; having all the newest electro-domestic conveniences is certainly a gift of this system. We can also build a washing machine that is modular, lasts 25 years and recycles its grey waters, perhaps even creates its own electricity as it torques. This new mentality of maintenance and retrofitting will redefine the way we do business. The pathology of obsessively camping outside smart phone franchisees to get the latest gadget breakthrough technology every 3 months is symptomatic of an unhealthy society. We have been swathed in a labyrinth of disempowering choices designed by the technological market players; they make us addicted to their toys, distracting us while we vicariously live up to the bling bling status that is sold to us. We are constantly measured up against the successful and celebrity types of modern culture. The skin deep make up MTV, Reality TV, Media Hollywood horror show is there to keep us dazed out in a dysfunctional dystopic soap opera glitter house reality. We feel compelled to become this consumer stereotype gobbling more and more of the products that inundate the supermarkets of the West.
Modernity and Economic Growth has engineered us into infinite consumption and we have forgotten to live within our means, in a steady state economy but at the same time in a renaissance of resourcefulness, a kind of Robinson Crusoisim that will spread development widely. In such modular and retrofitted economies their will be an explosion of motivation and small business interactions, a spirit of innovative community activism will spread. In this sense community building through self-reliance and technological ingenuity will reconsider and design the goods that really make humanity beautiful and magnificent, sharing the tools of progress, towards a
perennial gift economy.
Consumerism is person centered, gifts and sharing are centered on other; consumption is about taking away impersonal mass produced goods whereas service and maintenance is about giving back to your community markets, recoiling, reusing, retrofitting and recycling. Have we forgotten that the act of giving is the gift of life itself, and we are on earth not to take but to contribute, we are not here to consume but here for stewardship. This awakening will change our interaction with the commons. In this sense we will have to redefine the word product, to include perhaps designed to last, designed for community lending, designed to be used free of charge and copy-right free.
Examples of such products and services are already out there like Free Tool Lending Libraries where a wide variety of tools are loaned in the community free of charge. This exchange activity fosters self determination and builds community (“Power Tools to the People,” 2015). In these systems you can avoid spending on capital that can be shared in community, providing tools for people who need them. All around the world communities are setting up rental shops, tool libraries, kitchen tools, sporting tools and DIY instruction libraries. Like the millions of DIY YouTube videos that flourish the internet, these community libraries are revolutionizing the way we learn; with weekly power tool talk and hands on workshops that empower individuals with new skills. Access to basic tools and information is catapulting home manufacturing, neighborhood improvement and DIY projects. Open source management software makes it easy to setup and manage rental shops and lending libraries (“Start Sharing,” 2015). With this free software lending libraries can be managed efficiently and independently with automatic web-based systems that check inventory and alert members about availability providing message boards, discussion forums and new arrivals. These new products and tools are enabling communities to gather around creative projects that rescue and reutilize abandoned land and resources. Using tool libraries and creating a new economy of tool sharing, informational resources and retrofitted laboratories for innovation, DIY, DIT and
maker communities are changing the world we want to see (“10 Backyard Builders Changing the World,” 2015).
Cafes, retail spaces and entertainment complexes are also scattered throughout the tower to create a neighborhood feel. Although only in the design phase, Unit Fusion could be the solution for integrated vertical living.
Green Building via Inhabitat