Modern Day Alchemy – turning base materials into gold

This post will take a little while to get going but bear with me and you might find it interesting.

We live in world of mass consumption. Often we are encouraged to flex our social muscles as consumers rather than as citizens. Votes now matter less than dollars. This is democracy as E-Bay.

This is a byproduct of a world in which governments shrug their shoulders and declare that they are subordinate to markets.  The market is all powerful we are told so if we want to change the world for the better we should do it with our wallets, reward the virtuous and punish the venal. However the reaction of many large market players to this strategy has led to the creation of a new word ‘greenwashing’, where something appears green on the outside but is as black mountain top removal on the inside.

However there is another side of this that is rarely mentioned, which is that as a consumer once you buy something it’s yours. You can do with it what you like and no-one can tell you different.

You buy food from the supermarket, it’s yours. You prepare your meal scraping the leftovers and the vegetable peel into a garbage bag, that’s still yours.

You buy a newspaper, read it, pile it up in the combustibles pile, place it in the correct receptacle. You’ve done your duty as an ethical consumer.

Now what are you going to do with it?

Throw it in the trash, right?

That’s what everyone does because we are no longer citizens, merely consumers, hopefully ethical ones leading socially responsible corporations by the hand to the brighter, better world of tomorrow. It sounds a little far fetched doesn’t it?

It comes down to trust in the end and trusting corporations to seriously consider social and environmental concerns as being equal to the bottom line is misplaced. Similarly trusting governments, all of whom tell you that the market rules supreme and that we should hand more and more publicly held property over to private ownership is likely misplaced as well.

What you can trust is that if you learn how to process the wastes you produce you will derive value and power from them. They’re yours. They are a resource. They are your building blocks that will allow you to have a say in the world where you live. You can use it to improve the environment where you live, work and sleep.

So many companies make their money by telling you to buy this and buy that and there seems no way off the hamster wheel for any of us. We’re locked in a cycle of work harder this year than last year.

So many people say “Yes, but the problems we face are so big I’d rather not think about them because I feel so helpless”.

I submit that the materials and tools for solving these problems and loosening the bonds of wage slave bondage are no further away than the plastic bag we throw out every day.


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