Monday, 21 June 2010
Our hidden impacts
One of the important features of modern life that Life² helps people to deal with is the increased level of complexity within which people live. One example of this complexity is the chain of processes, people and impacts that sit behind even the most simple products or services we consume. As I noted in 'Modern life' - the ingredients of a typical BLT sandwich could have travelled 31,000 miles before the final product reaches the supermarket shelf.
So, our actions and purchasing decisions have a much more complex and wide range of impacts than we might think, and we all need to become much more aware of what these impacts are. Life² helps people to do this through its resources such as the knowledge base, and there are now other people and initiatives helping people to develop this area of knowledge. Bestselling author Daniel Goleman looks at this topic in his new book 'Ecological Intelligience', which although flawed in its loyalty towards free markets and economic growth, gives some interesting ideas on how 'eco labelling' schemes might be set up to help people understand the impacts behind their products and services.
Perhaps the most successful initiative to show these hidden impacts has been 'The Story of Stuff' - a free web-based video that has now been downloaded 10 million times. Although it has its own inherent biases that one should be aware of, the film provides some useful, accessible information. A book of the same name has now just been published by Annie Leonard.