Monday, April 25, 2011

This Company Does It Right

I am so tired of the word "Green" I could spit.  That somehow just attaching the word "green" before, after, or within the name of a product, service, or process, we are to believe whatever it is is kind and gentle to the environment.  Humans are not kind to the environment.  Just taking up space and breathing has an impact.  Besides the "environment" does care one way or the other.  It's physicality has precious little to do with what we attribute to it.

I think rather than pull at people's heartstrings by attempting to drum up worry over the plight of frogs, trees, or some obscure moss only found in a 3 acre parcel destined to become a shopping mall, we should focus our narrow minded population on what environment we are really talking about.  We should be making the point clear that if we continue to mine the planet of all the non renewable resources at the pace we are, soon "our environment" will be in sadder shape, maybe even unlivable shape.  Never mind the frogs or the snail darters.  Their demise or mutation is but a warning of what might be in the future for us.

Barring a planet wide human kill, our species absolutely needs to sharpen our management skills as it pertains to producing the basic human needs for 6 billion people.  Instead of exploiting our natural resources as fast as possible, we need to exploit with longevity and careful consideration in mind.  We should insist the life span of the products last longer, the packaging be re-usable, and demand food production with less chemicals.  And it all starts with the producers, growers, manufacturers.  Without them taking the lead, our cattle brained population will never fully be behind it.  We will continue to consume mindlessly.  That is what the herd does.  Smaller installments of reality now and in the near future has to be better than the obvious critical tipping point of reality we seem headed for.

One small company in Portland, Oregon has been actively trying to lessen their impact on our environment since they began back in 1976 while making the best products of their kind and being financially solvent and prosperous at the same time.  Chris King Precision Components makes high end bike parts.  Their products outlast anyone else's and are beautifully executed.  If you have any Chris King component on your bike, you make sure all your gnarly dude buds know about it if they don't notice when you first pull your ride off the roof rack.

Besides manufacturing everything, including their own bearings, Chris King has constantly looked for ways to lessen the impact of their machining on the local, national, world wide natural order of things.  Products that outlast their competitors is a great start.  They also take the time, effort, and investment to recycle and re-use thousands of gallons per year of cutting oil they need to machine their parts.  By squeezing out the cutting oil from the aluminum scrap before the recycler picks it up, they end up with a higher value scrap and get more money per pound for it.  Their work place is legend in the bike industry.  People love to work there.  The company is actively involved in local and national programs that focus on responsible stewardship of the planet.  And they make money to boot. 

Yes, their parts are expensive.  But I believe their example is one the rest of the manufacturing world should try to emulate.  Of course, we have to wean ourselves off the Walmartian mentality of  "cheaper is better" and the notion that consuming for consuming's sake is a good thing.  It will happen because at some point, even the cheap crap will eventually be too expensive to buy.


Images all poached from Chris King Site


David Barber said...

Apologies for my lack of visits of late, Mike. Since I started running The Flash Fiction Offensive, my time is tighter than ever. I will try harder.

Right, did you get my email with the link to that "bicycle" anthology? I thought of you straight away. I hope you do something with it as I'm sure you could come up with a cracker of a story. Let me know.

BTW, your shop front looks great on that photo a few posts back!

BBC said...

People don't really give a shit about green, they just want shit but if they can make it seem like it's in a green way they are cool with that.

Randal Graves said...

Is your blog green? These electrons better be recyclable.

John Myste said...

If you think spitting will help, by all means do. I cannot spit, never could. It is gross. However, I am green with envy when I see a successful spitting event.

John Myste said...

I need a better bicycle seat. I really do. I have not ridden for some time, all because of the saddle. My horse is stabled in the garage with one flat tire and a saddle that causes me great pain.