Everybody wants to get ahead. Well, what it we got ahead of ourselves? Why not slow it down? Take a decade just to catch up with the information and developments. We are revolutionizing products every second. The new & improved are coming out faster than we can keep up with. As a result, having the latest trends is indebting us to jobs we do not love and a lifestyle we cannot sustain.
Technology is wonderful, in so many ways. The example of me being able to share my blog online rather than mail it out randomly to the world is simply incredible and efficient. The amount of lives that have been saved with new development of old practices is astonishing. Transportation, education, agriculture, entertainment, and many other parts of our life are enriched by technology – but – there is another side to this story.
What about the waste we have created? We have made so many advances at the expense of Mother Nature and now the well runs dry. Conservation of our consumption is how we show gratitude. That thought crossed my mind about a year ago and since then I have consciously done my best to stay true to what I say. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Commonly said, but how profoundly is it applied?
When I came across Doug Klassen’s work at Artistry by the Lake, I did a double take. I had seen barrel art before, but there was something different about his. The way he coupled the metal to the wood was so prolific. He found a way to use the entire barrel creating a finished product with minimal new material.
Despite rushing back to my booth, I had to stop a minute and congratulate the Artist. He handed me his card with website, I gave a quick glance. It read: Designer, Craftsman, Humble Carpenter. Not a bad combination.
He is local to Niagara so I immediately filled him in on Crowdsourcing Sustainability. This is a great real-life example of how to reclaim resources while creating products that are built to last. I visited his website, and encourage you to do the same. Check out where he is coming from and where he is going with his natural skill and talent.
Wanting to learn more about the production process, I visited with him and he shared some insight into how he aspires to create an eco-friendly product and work environment. For example, instead of using varsol, he uses citrus solvent. The cost is over 5 times higher, but the citrus solvent is healthier for him and the environment. The bottom line is important, but not just the financial one. Business and lifestyle choices need to go beyond dollars and cents. People, planet, profit – balancing the Triple Bottom Line.
Reclaiming materials is labour intensive, and using better quality raw materials can be more costly. This means the product needs to sell at a premium. Doug’s work cannot be compared to that which is mass produced, so the price tag needs to be different too. As consumers, we begin to realize that there is nothing sustainable about buying the cheapest option. We can get caught up in thinking about how to bring down the cost, but we need to pay a fair price to value of what we are consuming. We cannot get great quality at unbeatable prices all the time, it doesn’t add up.
Inspired by another’s work in conservation I realize how much we can learn from each other. It’s quite simple, and if we all do our part it will make a big impact. Want to learn more? Here’s a good start – 10 Steps You Can Take to Make Your Business More Eco-Friendly written by Sarah Brooks. The last point she mentioned is my favorite – be committed. This is absolutely fundamental in achieving success in sustainability.
Want to localize your efforts? Come out to the Crowdsourcing Sustainability information session on August 14th at Mahtay Cafe between 5:30-7pm. We will bring together like minded community members and share stories of sustainability.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb