4 Elements of an Always Green Economy
The natural world is characterized by four interconnected fields of energetic expression that are capable of sustaining themselves over enormously long durations of time. These are the building blocks of an Always Green Economy that will usher in an incipient PermaAge, when human society will be able to co-exist in dynamic equilibrium with nature and the planet’s natural cycles of rebirth and creative self-destruction.
The first principle is Recyclability.
The second principle is Reassemblability.
The third principle is Repurposability.
The fourth principle is Retention of Value.
These natural principles, in turn, may be observed in practical operation in the carbon-based elements that surround us:
In each case, active human intervention is required to unlock the inherent forces that each contain. Wood can be a source of heat, light, and shelter. Stone can be used to build, protect, and buttress. Glass can be a transparent, chemically neutral source for pragmatic storage as well as an aesthetic showcase. Metal can maintain its use value and originally intended purpose over impressively long scales of time.
If the core natural principles of wood, stone, glass, and metal were to be more fully integrated into the current configuration of power that drives the global economy, then a more resilient, greener marketplace less dependent on Fossil Fuels and Petroleum-based Products (especially Plastics) will come of age. By thinking deeply and creatively about how high tech tools and gadgets can be recycled, reassembled, repurposed, and made to retain their value, the Information Age Titans of today’s Silicon Valley can start to atone for the environmental mistakes that humanity as a whole has made during the past century. And if they place themselves at the Vanguard of the Always Green Economy, then others surely will follow.
Recycle – Wood
The ultimate inspiration for all green products comes from nature. Without fostering lifelong connections to nature across the generations, there will never be original and lasting solutions to the climate crisis or any other of the many environmental problems we face. Will the products your company makes improve life on the planet not just five years from now but fifty or one hundred years into the future? And when their lifespan is over, how easily can they be returned to nature?
Reassemble – Stone
Green products are designed in sustainable ways that allow for their disassembly into base components as part of a natural cycle. They are built to last but also can adapt quickly & flexibly to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. They evoke timeless & classical forms but become sources of contemporary fascination for buyers and potential future buyers of all ages and backgrounds on a potentially global scale.
Repurpose – Glass
Green products do not simply compete with existing ones on the marketplace. They fundamentally redefine their genre by revolutionizing the concept of consumer goods utility. How often and in how many different ways can your product be used before its value is expended? How can its useful lifespan be extended by repurposing or rebranding? Can it be used by consumers creatively in ways that you may not even have envisioned?
Retain Value – Metal
Are your products or services ones that consumers will appreciate and use not just in the short term but over longer periods of time? Do they have the potential to become antiques and heirlooms that will take on a patina of personal cultural meaning and intergenerational valuation? When you make use of declining natural resources and non-renewable energy sources to manufacture them, are you confident that you have added something into the world that won’t simply become discarded junk before the next business cycle is over?