Over the holidays I was struck by the waste that is generated by both the toy industry and by the fast-food business (which I though was getting better for a while there). I started wondering why we are not up in arms about this (I know my own answer is that I’m lazy). It seems to me that both industries produce vastly more waste than value (on any measure) and that we are doing far too little to influence this state of affairs.
One of the more hopeful promises of the Internet-era is the idea of empowerment expressed in the Cluetrain Manifesto. Here, we are told, markets are conversations and that increasingly we have the power to influence, even shape, these conversations. The question, then, is: do we have this power? And if we do, why aren’t we doing more than Twittering with it? And if we don’t, then why are we turning the potential of these conversations into a media platform (Facebook/MySpace) that we do not control?
We need to make a New Year’s resolution to use the power of our conversations to stop ourselves (and others) from paying for (literal) garbage. This is not an argument against capitalism or commerce, but an argument against waste. I find that aesthetic argument (that the idea of wastefulness is itself per se offensive) sufficient, but there are more compelling and far-reaching arguments, like those offered the Story of Stuff (thanks, Ariel).
Happy New Year.