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[豆知识] 【整理】2011-04-03&04-09 物品的故事 (1/5)

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[Homework]   Bits of knowledge: the story of stuff    20110403

Do you have one of these? I get a little obsessed with mine. In fact, I get a little obsessed with all my stuff. Have you ever wondered where all the stuff we buy comes from and where it goes when we throw it out? I couldn't stop wondering about that, so I look it up. And what the text book says is that the stuff moves through a system, from extraction, to production, to distribution, to consumption, to disposal. All together it is called the material's ecomomy.

Well, I look into it a little bit more, in fact, I spent ten years travelling the world, tracking where it comes from and where it goes. And you know what I have found out? That is not the whole story. There is a lot missing from this explaination.

For one thing, this system looks like fine,  no problem, but the truth is, it is a system in crisis, and the reason this system is in crisis is, it is a * system, and we live in a finite(有限的) planet, and you can not run a * system on a finite planet indefinitely. Every step along the way, this is interacting with a real world. In real life, it is not happening on the blank way page, it is interacting with societies, cultures, economies, and environments, and all along the way, it is bumping up against limits. Limits we don't see here because the diagrams is incomplete.

So let's go back through, let's fill in some of the blanks to see what it is missing. Well, one of the most important things is it's missing is people, yes, people. People live and work all along this system, and some people in this system matter a little more than the others, some have a little more say, who are they? Well, let's start with the government, now my friends tell me that I should do a tank to symbolize the government, that's true in many countries increasingly in our own. After all, more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to the military, but I'm using a person to symbolize the government because I hold true to the visions and values that the government should be of the people, by the people, for the people, it is the government's job to watch out for us, to take care of us, that's their job.  

Then along came the corporation, now the reason of the corporation looks bigger than the government is that the corporation is bigger than the government, of the 100 largest ecomomies on the earth now, 51 are corporations, and that's the corporations grow in size and in power, we have see a little changing in the government whether a little more concern to make everything working out for those guys than for us.

Ok, so let's see what else is missing from this picture? We start with extraction, which is a fancy word for natural resources expolitation, which is a fancy word for trashing the planet. What this looks like is we chop down the trees, we blow up the mountains to get the medals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out all the animals. So here, we are running up against our first limit, we are running out of resources, we are using too much stuff. I know this can be hard to hear, but it is the truth, so we got to deal with it. In the past three decades alone, 1/3 of the planets natural resources species have been consumed, gone, we are cutting, and mining, and hauling, and trashing the place so fast, the world undermining the planet is very ability for people to live here.

Where I live in the United States, we have less than 4% of our original for us left, 40% percent of the water wells becomes undrinkable, and our problem is not just that we are using too much stuff, but we are using more than we share. We have 5% of the world's population, but we are using 30% of the world's resources. In creating 30% of the world's waste, if every body consumed US rates, we will need 3-5 planets. And you know what, we have only got one.

So my country's response to the limitation is simply to go to take somebody else's. This is the third world, which some would say it is another world for our stuff and somehow got on somebody's land.  So what exactly it look like? The same thing, trashing the place, 75% of global fisheries now are fished at or beyond capacity. 80% of the planet's original forests are gone. In the * alone, we are losing 2000 trees a minute, that is 7 football fields on minute.

And what about the people who live in here? Well, according to these guys, they don't own these resources even they have been living in there for generations, they don't own the means of production and they are not buying a lot of stuff, and in this system, if you don't own or buy a lot of stuff, you don't have value.
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