Ideas: Killing the planet since the year dot?.… #56 #cong18


Ideas have driven the human species forward since the dawn of civilisation (and possibly before, when we were untamed savages!). Most ideas contribute to the development of society and enhance the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. However, every idea comes at a cost. Excluding financial costs to run/manufacture/operate, all ideas come at a cost – generally to our planet.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Ideas have driven human development.
  2. Businesses never stand still, they are always looking for new ideas; it drives profit.
  3. Well executed ideas can create vast wealth for someone (not always those with the original idea).
  4. All ideas come at a cost – generally to our planet.

About Frank Walsh:

Full-time educator, part-time frustrated musician, idea generator, amateur graphic design chancer, long-term admirer of big band music, wannabe bass player, too many things to do on a regular basis. Standard CV ending from years ago….I enjoy socialising!

Contacting Frank Walsh:

You can follow Frank on  Twitter or send him an email.

By Frank Walsh

Ideas, formulated in the mind of an individual, possibly supported and executed by others have resulted in the development of the species to where we are today. We have better health, we are better educated, we have longer life-spans, we have increased levels of comfort, we understand more about our planet and we continue to kill that planet slowly.

As part of the human psyche, our long-ingrained primeval drive is to survive as long as possible, procreate and protect our family. Protecting our family (and genes), it could be suggested, is achieved through the acquisition of wealth, possibly as a plunderer (eg vikings), dictatorships, family dynasty (eg royal etc), politician, business owner or a worker employed for the provision of goods and/or services. In the case of business, as we know it, the formulation of ideas and subsequent execution and conversion of same into assets (financial or other), is what has driven development in our modern world.

Indeed, one of the standard strategic planning tools utilised by industry (Ansoff’s matrix) is focused on the future growth of a business. There are very few businesses that wish to stand still. They wish to expand, increase sales and multiply profits. They need ideas to drive such a relentless pursuit forward.

Technological changes have probably had the greatest impact on the human species; our ability to convert new ideas into materials, systems and products that enhance our quality of life.

But, practically every idea has an impact on our planet.

As a result of improvements in health we are living longer: the population of the planet has almost reached 8 billion people. These people need somewhere to live and they need materials from which to develop homes. There is an ever-increasing demand for concrete, metals, wood, plastic and associated petroleum products. The earth is being savaged, stripped, bent, broken, drilled, fracked and exploited at a pace never seen before. Animal habitats are being reduced, wildlife species being made extinct; possibly some animals are being made extinct before they have been discovered. Just one of these animals could potentially hold a cure for cancer. Yet, our insatiable demand to satisfy our idea-driven needs continues to plunder our planet.

Two simple examples: The idea and subsequent development of nuclear power has provided the world with Chernobyl and Fukushima. The idea for plastic based materials has subsequently left us with poisioned oceans, and microplastics now entering the food chain through fish. Monafilimant fishing lines take up to 600 years to degrade, aluminium cans take 200 to 250 years and styrofoam simply does not biodegrade.

Reflecting on technological changes that we as consumers demand, based on someones ideas, adds to the list of materials required for new products. It relinquishes the “past-it” product to a “has-been” item, some of which may be recycled, and some which will be around for hundreds of years to come.
Practically all ideas lead to an increase in the consumption of some type of materials. Concomitantly, this also leads to an increase in waste material. Our planet is a certain size, it has finite resources, with an increasing level of human activity. Somewhere, in the near future, if we don’t come up with a new range of ideas, our human species will cause the precariously balanced eco-system of earth to exit equilibrium.

If we are to positively support the idea of a sustainable planet, then perhaps the ideas we need should not be consumer and business driven. Perhaps the ideas we should support are those surrounding recycling, sustainable development and the idea that a change in our mindset is required. It’s an idea worth considering!

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