Design:

  • Wide swaths of neutral, desaturated colors are commonly used to signal that products are in some way wholesome, natural, ethical, or organic, particularly in the world of fashion

Labor Pains: 

  • From time to time, there's a news story about a note being found in a mass-produced product, allegedly written by an unknown worker toiling under inhumane conditions. Sometimes those stories can be verified, other times they are constructed projects by activists. Rossalyn A. Warren, writing for Vox, tries to run down the truth of one such story, and in the telling maps out a world of production, abuse, and paranoia about the unknown spaces that so many of our goods appear from. 

Energy: 

Waste:  

  • A fungus that breaks down polyurethane plastics has been discovered in Pakistan. While stories like this often have an optimistic tone, the reality is that even the most robust plastic destroying microorganisms are only able to address a portion of the problem we have created. Beyond the issue of waste, there is the highly concentrated energy, in the form of oil, that is summarily consumed in the production and transportation of plastic goods. The biological world comes up with novel solutions to break down those materials, though it is unable to re-concentrate the energy. Put another way, the bugs and fungi may help to clean up our messes, but when it comes to avoiding deeper destruction, it is up to us to do the work. 

Archiving: 

More next week. 

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