Thursday, February 20, 2020

Merino

As an ecomodernist, language starts to work opposite to most people. Instead of “locally sourced”, I want “globally sourced” to bring the world together; instead of “hand-made”, I want “robot-made” to free up people so that they can create and dream; instead of “renewable”, I want “nuclear” to leave room for nature and prevent fossil gas dependence; and finally, instead of “organic”, I want “synthetic” to make rewilding possible.

Being counterculture is obviously never easy. As my dear co-author once put it: ‘Do you have any idea how hard it is to be vegan and not eat anything labelled “organic” or “non-GMO”?’. Often, one runs into different problems of scale, like my other friend advocating elk hunting as an ethical and “climate-friendly” alternative, which, even if it works in rural Sweden is obviously not possible to scale up across the planet. I guess the more general question here is to what extent one should support superior but non-scalable products or practices?

Textiles are a particularly difficult case when it comes to determining what is really better and more scalable. For instance, we all know that currently existing synthetic materials such as polyester lose thousands of plastic fibres that end up as microfibers every time they are washed. For me, who is running basically every day, there is clearly a lot of washing going on that generates significant amounts of non-biodegradable microplastics. In the long run, the solution here has to be technological innovation and more durable materials. But how do you support such innovation? By buying the currently existing yet problematic products? Or by buying better yet non-scalable products and, as such, exercising consumer choice? Going down the latter route, I just invested in a new 100% Merino Base Layer from New Zealand. Especially as I have the Ultra Interval Challenge coming up in a month from now, I needed something that I can wear throughout the day without stinking. Still, it left me uncertain about what is really the right thing to do here?

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