I like to think it is because I wake up each day and look out over beautiful hills, but the truth is we built the workroom in the way so I cannot actually see much of the garden and hills anymore! Really it’s about the fact that if we don’t start thinking harder about what we are doing to the world there isn’t going to be much of a world left for us to look after.
In the early 20th century we were forced to be economical; to make do and mend. So as a society we had to get on with it, following austerity measures on food, clothing and even furniture. In hindsight we can see that this led to some amazing advancements in design and manufacture, but at the time it was restrictive and oppressive and society could not wait to get to the point to let down it’s hair and break free.
When the time came it went a little crazy. You can’t blame it in many ways. It is like the puppy that has been stuck in a car for several hours finally getting out in the front garden. Labour saving devices, disposable items, new chemicals, easy wash clothing, rock and roll….. (maybe we can’t blame the rock and roll).
Even power changed. We went nuclear. The thought being that technology is the answer, making things more complex is the key to improving society. But is it?
We started to find that some of these new chemicals were actually bad for us. The CFC’s that we used to make our labour saving devices and new plastics were damaging our atmosphere – the very thing that was guarding us from the UV rays that would harm us. The ingredients in our home chemicals were poisoning our animals and even us. The beads and fibres in our clothing were damaging to wildlife. The fuel for our vehicles was putting out waste products that was bad for us so we invented ad new system so it was better for us but worse for the atmosphere. The chemicals in plastics were damaging our internal systems. And so it goes on. The more we learnt the more we realised that as we thought we were making life better the more we were damaging the planet, the wildlife and ourselves.
Society is aware now that plastic takes longer to break down than paper and that we should avoid excessive packaging, yet it continues. Where there is a choice manufacturers are still taking the ‘pretty’ over ‘functional’ option as they feel society still needs this to generate sales.
The worst thing is when we look back some of these things have crept in over the last few years without us really noticing and we have just taken it for granted. For instance when did it stop being the case that you could just buy a handful of grapes in a supermarket and they have to all be pre-packaged in a plastic tub with plastic wrap over them.
We are taking this seriously here at the Inventors Asylum. Yes, we have plastic bottles for a couple of our kits as they would be MUCH more expensive in glass. However, you can buy a refill for the kit when you have finished your bottle meaning you can use it over and over again.
We use potato starch ‘cello’ packets, brown paper bags or brown cardboard boxes and look for a high recycled content in the manufacture. When it comes to postage we try to avoid bubble wrap wherever possible using shredded paper sourced from our local primary school.
Our products are made using natural ingredients and are not harmful to the environment. We are constantly looking for new ways to help you learn how to get back the idea of make do and mend but without the austere, forced feeling that was present during wartime Britain. Although we understand that this is a very real need to understand our responsibility to look after the world and help it survive for future generations we want to enjoy it at the same time.
Previous cultures have been and gone leaving their mark on the world which now we see as beautiful and mysterious. In their time they lived in a much simpler and natural manner. We need to recapture some of that history and culture and step back a little to a time when life was less complex and technology did not rule the world.
Just imagine when this is the mysterious landmark being explored by future generations as a symbol of the life we lead now. Does it say what you want it to say about how we live? Do we need to change?