Knowing is Half the Battle (at least that is what G.I. Joe told me)

In a previous article I talked about HoboWorks, a Vancouver based company that is turning trash into treasures!  They take wood that people throw away and turn them into artisan storage bins, wine holders and lap top cases! Definitely worth taking a look! It got me thinking about the zeitgeist that exists to make companies like HoboWorks viable. Especially when you compare it and to the 1960s bottle brick. Take a look at the article “When Heineken Bottles Were Square” posted on Smithsonianmag.com. It’s an overview of the beginnings and history of the square bottle. To sum it up:

In 1960, Freddy Heineken took a trip to the island of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea and discovered that he could barely walk 15 feet on the beach without stepping on a littered Heineken bottle. He was alarmed by two things: First, the incredible amount of waste that his product was creating due to the region’s lack of infrastructure to collect the bottles for reuse. Second, the dearth of proper building materials available to those living in the impoverished communities he visited. So he thought up an idea that might solve both of these problems: A brick that holds beer.

There is a lot more to the story, but at the end of the day, his efforts were applauded and recognized for being ethically and environmentally ahead of their time, but the brick bottle never took off… Why not? Zeitgiest…?

In the early ‘60s, Environmentalism was burgeoning, families were keeping up with the Joneses, the sexual revolution was sauntering on to the scene and TV was rare, black and white and filled with games show, not the barrage of full colour, overwhelming, in your face photos and stories of the social, economical and environmental bleakness faced by modern man.

Skip ahead to 2014, the awareness of our reality is unavoidable, we all know what the outcome is and the consequences are if we don’t make conscious choices to do better. That awareness leads to a completely different zeitgeist that encourages individuals to make better choices and take responsibility for themselves and their footprints.

G.I. Joe told me that knowing is half the battle. Knowing/awareness allows us to consciously make good choices like recycling, reducing, reusing, buying and eating local, spending our dollars to support local artists who use recycled goods and much more. Making good choices becomes a perpetuating cycle of increased awareness encouraging you to make better choices, and the your better choice leading to increased awareness of the products, services, ideals and option for other people who may not be quite up to speed. And so the zeitgeist grows and so, one reclaimed piece of art at a time, the world progresses.

In the 60s, Environmentalists were depicted as radical, extreme and were generally lumped in with any "leftist" movement and not taken seriously.

In the 60s, Environmentalists were depicted as radical, extreme and were generally lumped in with any “leftist” movement and not taken seriously.

Today, environmentalists are everywhere, no longer depicted as radicals and outsiders!

Today, environmentalists are everywhere, no longer depicted as radicals and outsiders!

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