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Sneakers and Bras, Condoms and Truck Tires (standard:Creative non-fiction, 410 words)
Author: GXDAdded: Nov 25 2008Views/Reads: 2662/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Our civilization depends on consuming Earth's resources and converting them to meet human needs. As we resolve to downscale our consumption, work will end for a great many people. What will they do when work ends???

Sneakers and Bras, Condoms and Truck Tires 

The immediate challenge to environmental/ecological action is in
disassembling essential institutions with the minimum of damage to 
human beings.  One example will suffice: 

Sneakers et al are common items made from oil and coal by-products. 
Among the educated young people around the world, a resolve is forming 
to consume less, pollute less and recycle/reuse wherever practical.  As 
this resolve begins to predominate in urban societies -- over the next 
75 years -- the people who work the wells and the mines will become 
fewer and fewer.  What will they do when work ends? 

The oil and coal must travel to processing plants (refineries, coking
plants) and often long distances to their point of use.  The people who 
transport and distribute oil and coal by-products will need fewer 
employees.  What will they do when work ends? 

The chemical processing plants that convert these raw materials into
refined materials (plastics, fabrics, bonding agents, aspirin)  will 
continue to be more automated and need fewer and fewer workers.  What 
will they do when work ends? 

The manufacturing plants that produce and wholesale sneakers, bras,
condoms and truck tires will respond to the reduced demand for their 
products.  Their workers may have to work shorter hours or may even be 
discharged.  Apart from collecting unemployment insurance for six 
months, what will they do when work ends? 

The distributors and commercial outlets for these finished products will
not have as much need for salespeople, accountants, computer-skilled 
specialists.  What will these people be doing when they see work coming 
to an end? 

What will you do, as work comes to an end? 

It all depends on how you define "WORK".  To me, work has always been a
4-letter word that brings me less agreeable feelings than doing what I 
love best.  Since most of what I love best consumes no resources 
(playing piano, bicycling, hugging, massage etc.) and leaves no 
pollution (the piano and bicycle are reusable and recyclable), I find 
that my work consists of pleasing myself and my friends and making 
people around me happy.  As a component of 21st Century ethics, loving 
what you do equals doing what you love. 

So ... What is the first step in disassembling the elegant institutional
structures (like the one above) without hurting people.  Who do we know 
that would just love doing this? Simple but challenging, isn't it? 

Seattle, November 23, 2008 - Gerald X. Diamond - All rights reserved


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