So you’ve just done Christmas with the family eh?
- How many presents were bought by one family member or friend of the family for another ( on average )?
- How much wrapping paper, synthetics, sticky-tape, ribbons, and other superfluous package was used per gift?
- How many component parts of the present, and how much of the packaging & wrapping were biodegradable?
- What is the lifespan of the utility of the gift?
What is the half-life for breakdown of the materials? Will they last hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of years?
- How much energy was required by natural processes to create the raw materials from which they were made?
- How many other units of resources were involved in the process of their natural creation?
- How many additional units of energy and resources over time, were used by human beings to harvest, process, refine, store, whole-sale distribute raw materials & component parts, design, manufacture, assemble, store again, market, advertise, sell, etc. those things that went into making those gifts?
- How many natural ecosystem services were disrupted, destroyed, or polluted by any of those phases of supply?
- How many were bought every other year by you and your family?
- How much use did you actually get from them?
- How many things broke really quickly?
- How many do you think other families bought this year? Last year? Every year? In your suburb …
- What about in the rest of your city? All the other cities of your state? Your country? Every other country?
- How many other gift giving holidays exist across all cultures of the planet? How frequent are they?
- What proportion of all this stuff and it’s packaging and wrapping is just pure waste?
- What proportion will soon become new waste?
- Within your town, how many businesses do you think it takes to equal that amount of waste on other activities?
- What about in other towns and cities across your country and around the globe?
- Did you know that approximately 10% to 30% of food production is thrown out?
- How many products are made with inbuilt obsolescence?
- How many products are made that are completely technologically redundant?
- How many resources are consumed or polluted or destroyed by industries that wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have a monopoly stranglehold on a market?
- How many resources are wasted by meaningless “entertainment” to keep people distracted?
- How many resources are wasted by warfare, including testing, ecological destruction/pollution, and the destruction of infrastructure?
- How much petrol is wasted by vehicles travelling completely unnecessarily so that people can do meaningless jobs that are easily automated, or jobs they could easily perform from home?
- How many resources are wasted on producing car parts to repair cars from accidents that only occur because so many people are doing so much pointless driving?
- How much petrol is wasted by the fact that the internal combustion engine motor vehicles only uses on average 0.2% of the available energy in the fuel to move the mass of the driver?
- How much petrol is wasted by buses that travel according to a schedule, even when no one is on them aside from the driver, or so few people they could fit in a small compact car?
I could keep listing things all day, all night, all week, and never finish.
Our society is not unsustainable because there’s too many people per se … it’s unsustainable because the amount of waste per person, per organisation, per household, and per sector of society, is beyond mind boggling … we waste more than we actually use, we destroy without thought, and we pollute and destroy the capacity for replenishment.