"As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome" - Noam Chomsky
Planned obsolescence (PO) is a common strategy used mainly by companies that sell physical goods rather than providing services (of course there will be room for exceptions). So what is it? PO is essentially a 'planned lifetime' of a product whereby after a period of time, the product will no longer have functional value (this is a common tactic used in technological products). The point of PO is so that firms can establish frequent purchases from the consumers and create a consistent revenue stream. In previous blogs, personal choices of the consumer were discussed, however majority of the time, PO gives us little choice in the matter.
For the past 4 weeks, my coursemates and I have been working alongside Graphic design students to create a UN Earth Summit pitch (as part of my ENVS2004 module; Environmental issues and communication). The primary goal of this summit was to go carbon neutral/reduce carbon dioxide emission by 2050. My team, fortunately, was representing China (a country which I personally believed had a lot of potential for this project).
Initially, it was quite difficult planning the pitch as combining scientific knowledge with graphic applications was a very new concept to all of us, and we wanted a quality collaboration. After some discussion, my team decided to take a very unconventional route to going 'carbon neutral' by 2050, which actually made this project one of my favourite since beginning my course in Plymouth.
Pitch: Reducing carbon emissions by implementing a global minimum wage, starting with Shanghai.
Black friday. Probably the best modern example of our primal desire to accumulate and acquire the newest and best. The concept of the American tradition celebrating thanksgiving on the second monday of each November, has become tainted by the capitalist system and our frequent exposure to advertisements by money-hungry corporations.
Consumerism. An idea that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in increasingly large amounts to sustain a healthy economy. Economically, this makes perfect sense. The more goods and services we buy, the more businesses grow, the more jobs are created, the more people are able to spend money, and thus the cycle continues. As much as this concept has helped human civilization develop into what we have today, the consequences are now catching up with us, and I think it's time we open our eyes to the environmental issues caused, namely; resource exploitation, air/land/water pollution, accelerated climate change.
As part of the Environmental science programme at the University of Plymouth, one of our modules gives us the opportunity to work with ETE (Education through Expeditions) as part of a leadership training course. The training took place in Dartmoor, which was interesting to say the least, as I for one am not 'the adventurous type'. However, I was determined to persevere.
Hi, I'm Fotini - Just a student trying to make the world more conscious of our actions, so we can manage the consequences.