Oil and gas underpin everything our society is and does.
Energy production is not the issue. We know we can develop tidal, wave, Sun, wind, hydro, and geothermal to meet demand, along with efforts to save energy. What makes fossil fuels economic to produce and the profit is the things made from oil and gas.
The fossil fuel industry rightly says oil and gas is vital to our economic system. They quote 6,000 items we rely on every day. And we do, from ink to clothing, from moisturiser to putty, from electrical tape to car tyres, our society would collapse without them. Unfortunately, if we continue to use oil and gas our society is over – killed off by climate and ecological collapse.
The boring way to fix this is to look how to recycle, or to re-use these items, or to make them more efficient – tinkering we know wastes more resources, with efficiencies within the broken system creating more demand and damage.
The exciting response is for designers to imagine and design a system without these items. 6,000 things that need examining as to whether we need them, and if so what we could replace them with.
This is the exciting, innovative challenge of our times. Time wasted on tinkering with a system that is killing us is time wasted. We need artists to re-imagine the World, and designers to make those changes reality.
Designers are looking around for new, and not so new, materials and new uses for fossil-free materials. But the whole system must change, and quickly. We must decide what we value and need, and what to discard.
The whole system must change, every aspect of every item must be redesigned. It is not enough to use a material but map out the whole process of sourcing, making and transporting that item to sale. It must all be oil and gas free.
Pic Credit: Wooden, bamboo and flax bikes