One of us went to fire training the other week and came back with a remarkable stat from the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI). 40 years ago we had about 17 minutes to escape from a house fire. These days, due to our reliance on synthetic plastic materials that construct and furnish our homes, we have only 3 minutes. Our furniture is often made with plastic, our carpets lined with it or floors made of vinyl, our curtains of synthetics, bedsheets of polyester, wardrobes of nylon, decor made nearly exclusively of it, kitchens of plastic appliances with pantries brimming with it, and bathrooms filled from towels to toiletries.
Our plastic obsession and support of cheap materials have far reaching consequences like this. Not that long ago we had much less stuff but often of higher quality, from natural fibres and made with craftsmanship. We cared for it deeply and made it last a lifetime. Let’s make materialism mean that. Let’s own less, but better. Let’s look after things and see how long we can extend their life. Let’s refurbish, fix and recycle. Let’s use local sustainable materials and support small business. Let’s make things instead of mass producing them. Let’s advocate for a few less working hours and flexibility where we can so we have time for these things (without added worry).