Filed under: Business + Politics, Design + Architecture, Energy + Climate, J840 Week 5, Science + Tech, Society + Media, Waste + Recycling | Tags: Alex Steffan, Annie Leonard, Drilling, Hannah-Barbara, recycling, sustainability, The Jetsons
As I watch Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff, I can’t help but yawn. Everything she says fails to captivate me. I’m not trying to be rude. The information Annie presents is very relevant and emotional in today’s society where we struggle to find ways to exist in a way that can be maintained in the long run. My problem is that I learned all of this from Jetsons: The Movie.
In 1990, Hannah-Barbara brought the Jetsons to the big screen. Kids like myself, were spellbound watching George Jetson take over a new, highly efficient Spacely Sprocket factory located on a distant asteroid. These same kids also learned a valuable lesson about sustainability as it was discovered that the factory was drilling into the home of the Grungees, the alien race inhabiting the asteroid. To make an 82 minute story short, the factory is turned over to the Grungees who can produce new sprockets by recycling old ones (I guess space traveling humans weren’t smart enough to figure that one out) and everyone lived happily ever after.
I know I reference children’s media a lot, but I do it to further dialogue and hopefully find a resolution to the wasteful habits of industry. If we can explain sustainability in such elementary terms, why can’t we make it happen? Watching Alex Steffan’s presentation on sustainable design and production, I’m struck by his statement that each generation wants its own version of prosperity. It’s true that we want to do just a little bit better than our parents. Maybe that’s why the same generation that learned a lesson by watching the Jetsons avoid the destruction of an entire race, is becoming the next generation of destroyers.
Having seen this movie, I guess I get a different definition of sustainability. To me, sustainability is a business term used to describe operating at an efficieny level that creates the greatest good for all. By “all” I’m referring to the business and its shareholders as well as the community it serves. In my mind, sustainability is a way of getting greater Return on Investment than our predescessors in a way that leaves room for the next generation to increase it even more. It doesn’t have to mean a stagnate economy.
I do find a little comfort as Mr. Steffan talks about what Mrs. Leonard refers to as the “Third World.” It seems that sustainability is possible through the “leapfrogging” and “collaboration” that Mr. Steffan describes. Simple efforts anchored in design have allowed areas with little resources to operate at levels beyond the efficiency of industrialized nations in my opinion.
So perhaps the answer to achieving sustainability is as simple as they make it seem in children’s movies. Or am a just a dreamer?
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment