Thursday, October 30, 2008

LowTech / High Science - The Future of Sustainable Technology

Western culture, as it has developed so far, has taken scientific discoveries and engineered the results into products and systems that are highly energy intensive and uneconomical to repair. We have all kinds of tools that are fun to use, until they break. Few people know how to fix them. The only option is to buy another one and use it until it breaks. I have a couple of stereo receivers, one at home and one at my shop. They were both built in the 1970’s and still work and sound great. The stereos that you can buy now are inexpensive but they only seem to last a few years. The same thing is true with my 35mm film camera. I bought it new in 1977. It still works great thirty years later. Unfortunately film is becoming obsolete. So I bought a digital camera. It lasted two years before it broke. Repair? It was cheaper to throw it away and buy another camera. What a waste. The technology that science and engineering is producing today is throwaway technology – obsolete after only a few years.

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