I am just wrapping up with reading Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouninard, and I have to admit that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the book. Mr. Chouinard is the founder and owner of Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company that has been talking the talk and walking the walk about sustainable practices.
There was one particular topic in this book that caught my interest that I don’t think gets enough credit when people discuss the attributes of sustainability, and that’s the concept of Quality. Our American way of life is predicated on an endless loop of consuming and disposing of goods. People make things, people buy things, people throw away things, and then people make more things for people to buy. This loop has created many jobs and services related to those things, as well as jobs related for promoting those things and making people believe they need them. These goods were designed to be disposed, because if they were made to last then why would people buy more of them? If you’re car came with life-time tires would you ever need to buy another set of tires again? If you’re computer could easily be upgraded as required for new technologies would you ever buy a new computer?